Six steps to building a mentally healthy workplace
The World Health Organisation suggests that a mentally health workplace takes into consideration the following:
- A healthy job is likely to be one where the pressures on employees are appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work and to the support they receive from people who matter to them.
- As health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a positive state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, a health working environment is one in which there is not only an absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of health-promoting ones. These may include continuous assessment of risks to health, the provision of appropriate information and training on health issues and the availability of health-promoting organisations support practices and structure.
- A health work environment is one in which employees have made health and health promotion a priority and part of their working lives.
The core standards for building a mentally healthy workplace are:
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan. This should promote good mental health for all employees and outline the support available for those who may need it.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees. This should be done by making information, tools and support accessible.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling. During the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, appropriate workplace adjustments should be offered to employees who need them.
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development.
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors. All employees should have regular conversations about their health with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader who should, in turn, be trained in effective management practices.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing. Employers need to talk to employees and identify and understand risk factors.