11 May Mental Health! What Are Your Responsibilities?
Mental health in the workplace, what are your responsibilities?
Sphere Risk Health and Safety Management Ltd have helped many companies better understand mental health in the workplace. There are many practical business advantages to providing the right mental health support for your employees. Looking after your staff and keeping them mentally fit and healthy will enable them to do their work and remove unwanted absences. It’s also good business practice and will enhance your reputation and that of your business.
Mental health at work – so what is this all about?
Mental health awareness has never been so prominent, aided by Prince William and Harry who highlighted their own struggles with the loss of their mother and the impact it had on their mental state. One of the key barriers to understanding mental health is some people’s perception of injury and illness. If you cut your hand off in a work accident, people could see that you were impaired. If you have scars on your face or head, again people can see it. However mental health issues do not raise the traditional symptoms of injury. You must look deeper, read a person’s body language, listen to their words, their tone, and cadence, pick up on their facial expressions and body language. In your busy workplaces these subtle signs can easily be missed unless it has happened to you or someone close to you.
Why is this a workplace issue?
In the last few years there has been an increase in stress and mental wellbeing reports to HSE for lost time incidents and there are some surprising statistics that the HSE have shared. In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. An incredible 11.7 million lost working days! Considering these figures and with mental health issues on the rise it’s important to understand your duties as a business owner to understand these problems and actions to take should you need to intervene and help.
Your legal responsibility!
Business owners have a legal responsibility to protect the persons they employ, this includes not only their employees but also contractors etc. Mental wellbeing places itself right in the middle of this legal responsibility. You owe everyone you employ a duty of care and it is your prime responsibility to ensure that it is put in place!
As a business owner, what do you need to do?
Do you take a person at face value if they say they are OK to deal with their workload? You must consider their attitude, reactions, body language, the way they treat colleagues and their demeanour which may be telling you something different!
The other dimension to consider are personal issues, (money, relationships etc), which may be causing stress and mental well-being issues. When this happens business owners have a legal duty to support their employee and ensure work does not further damage their mental wellbeing.
Do you need advice regarding mental health in the workplace? Call us on 01223 654465.