Theresa May’s Mental Health Plan for wellbeing in the workplace

Most Professionals Missed This Important Section of Theresa May’s Mental Health Plan.

In her ‘Shared Society’ speech, Theresa May unveiled her plan to tackle the mental health crisis plaguing the United Kingdom.  Much of the focus was on children and adolescents and the measures we need to take to ensure their emotional stability. This is a charge that we as a society take seriously and with reverence for the needs of our society’s most vulnerable.

However, in the middle of this plan, there was a paragraph overlooked by the mainstream media.  Yet it is equally vital for the health and wellbeing of our nation.

“Second, I want us to do more to support mental wellbeing in the workplace. So I have asked Lord Stevenson, who has campaigned on these issues for many years, and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, to work with leading employer and mental health groups to create a new partnership with industry, and make prevention and breaking the stigma top priorities for employers. Because mental wellbeing doesn’t just improve the health of employees, it improves their motivation, reduces their absence and drives better productivity too.”

This is a powerful statement about the need for employers to attend to their employees mental wellbeing.  Most of a full time employees waking hours are spent in the workplace. It is the source of many things including: income, pride, self-worth, social groups etc.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure their employees health, safety and wellbeing.  What steps can they take to make sure the mental health of their employees is being met?

Network Groups

Most corporate environments have network groups for various populations in their workforce. They can be for parents/carers, women, LGBTQ, aging populations and a myriad of other labels that apply to their workforce. These groups provide a space that allows them to have a voice, embrace diversity and find kinship with other employees who have similar life experiences.

Expert Speakers

Bringing in experts to speak on topics that apply to the lives and needs of employees facilitates the learning needed for optimal mental health. This allows attendees to find answers to questions that cause stress and worry. Employees need for that ever elusive work/life balance is also acknowledged. The experts will give them the skills they need to get closer to finding that

Resource Lists and Access

It may seem a simple thing  but having a list of available resources can prove vital in time of crisis.  In a calm and rational state, you can easily do a web search and find therapists and mental health workers that can fit the needs of any person.  However, when a person is in a state of heightened anxiety, even this task can prove overwhelming. Human Resources need to have available resources to point employees in the right direction. Obtuse statements like “We are here to help” are superficial.  Specific help is beneficial.

Time

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Time heals all wounds.”  While we know other resources and strategies need to be put in place, having the time to heal from a crisis is critical.  This can manifest in many ways.  It can be time off  from work, slow return plans, remote working, facilitating experts for one on one counselling.

Employees are more than a means to an end.  They are a valuable resource that needs to be nurtured and cared for.  More importantly, they are people that deserve respect and understanding.  Employers who take on this responsibility with open eyes and open arms will in return have a dedicated workforce that is loyal, efficient and appreciative.

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