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Promoting Positive Mental Health at Work

March 13, 2019
HR Wisdom

Mental health and employee productivity are greatly connected. When an employee suffers an ill mental health, they’ll be unable to work to the best of their ability. An ill mental health affects businesses at various levels, from a decline in productivity to an increase in retention rate.

According to the government’s department of health, one in four people will experience mental ill health at some point in their life. Businesses are now realising this and have started to invest in employee assistance programmes to encourage wellness both physically and mentally.

Promoting wellness within an organisation isn’t only beneficial to employers. Employers can also benefit greatly from focusing on the wellbeing of their employees.

This article will delve into some of the benefits to both employers and employees. We’ll also suggest simple tips to implement to promote health and safety at work.

The importance of positive mental health

In terms of work, when employees feel good about themselves, they work productively, engage with colleagues and contribute more to the business.

According to a study by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), stress and anxiety are two of the biggest causes of long-term absences from work. The study also found that over 35% of employees experiencing ill mental health are more likely to get into conflict with their colleagues.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate lost productivity as a result of depression and anxiety cost the global economy over $1 trillion per year.

Promoting wellness in the workplace reduces absence levels as well as improves overall performance.

Benefits to employers:

  • Reduced staff turnover/better staff retention.
  • Improved productivity/performance/creativity.
  • Reduced staff absences and associated savings.
  • Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
  • Enhanced reputation as an employer.
  • Strengthened capacity of an organisation.
  • Improved working relationships.

Benefits to employees:

  • Benefits for staff include.
  • Improved mental and physical health.
  • Reduced risk of mental health problems.
  • Support in recovery from mental health problems.
  • Improved morale.
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence.
  • Better working conditions.
  • Better work/life balance.

Tips for promoting positive mental health

Culture of openness – a culture of openness allows employees to freely talk about problems that they might be experiencing without fear of repercussions such as job loss, isolation or discrimination.

Wellbeing policy – Create a mental health policy that outline’s your company’s commitment to the mental wellbeing of employees.

Communication –  Be sure to clearly communicate with your staff on changes to policy or process within the organisation. You should also remember to explain the reasons for the changes and how if may affect employees.

Internal communication – Using internal communication channels, raise awareness through blogs, FAQs, factsheets and more. Use posters, notice boards, newsletter, intranet and more to get your message out.

On-going supportOffering employee assistance programmes provides workers with a suite of wellbeing services including counselling sessions (face-to-face or by telephone), health hub, discounted gym memberships, financial advice and so much more.


The effects of a positive mental health are felt at various levels through an organisation. From team camaraderie to productivity, from reduced turnover rates to reduced absences and sick leaves.

Consider adopting a culture that encourages conversations about mental health without fear of repercussions from colleagues. By implementing some of the tips touched on above, you’re well on your way to happier and mentally healthy employees.

Alistair Brown is the chief technical officer of BrightHR in Manchester city centre. He’s responsible for overseeing innovative HR software projects that streamline day-to-day activities for clients. Before joining BrightHR, Alastair worked as a director of delivery for an international hotel bookings site. He also worked as a leader for a global accountancy software business, which supported millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries.

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