Mental health and wellbeing is important 365 days of the year, with or without a pandemic or other crisis.
Employers are uniquely placed to identify challenges that their employees are going through, and to provide information and support to help them.
Business owners should never overlook their own mental health and wellbeing, and should take advantage of the same information and support.
To support their employees with any challenges they are facing, employers should familiarise themselves with the support available. Knowing where to point people towards for help will enable anyone in need to get support as quick as possible.
Learn how to bring about positive change with regards to mental health and wellbeing in your workplace with resources from Time to Change, a growing movement delivered by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
What can you do to help change people's attitudes and behaviours to those facing mental health problems?
Time to Change has created a 5-point checklist with ideas and inspiration for you.
Research from Mind revealed that 56 per cent of employers would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing, but don't feel they have the right training or guidance.
On the Mind website, you will find an abundance of resources, training courses, wellbeing booklets and more.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that:
"As an employer, you can help manage and prevent stress by improving conditions at work. But you also have a role in making adjustments and helping someone manage a mental health problem at work."
Read the HSE's advice for employers on managing people's mental health at work.
This includes specific advice for managing stress at work.
St John Ambulance's resources are available to help employers create and maintain a supportive workplace. These include:
Read these top tips for employers and managers on how to support employees through their challenges.
Have an open door policy
Try to make yourself approachable and available for conversations about staff wellbeing. Developing an understanding culture gives the best possible opportunity to solve problems affecting people in your team.
Try to be inclusive and proactive about staff wellbeing. Remember that people can often feel guilty or ashamed about asking for help.
A positive approach to discussing mental health can create a pattern of hope and an expectation of understanding and empathy. This is especially important when someone is approaching you for the first time.
The above advice comes from Healthy Minds’ Employment Support Service and Richmond Fellowship’s Employment Advisors.
The Samaritans provide a series of tools and resources that employers can use themselves or point their staff towards, including online learning that teaches employees the skills to look after their emotional health and look out for others, before they reach crisis point.
The Samaritans also run training courses for employers covering:
Buckinghamshire Mind runs professional training workshops and presentations suitable for managers and staff in the private, public or voluntary sectors.
For details of Mind's national training courses delivered from Cardiff, see the Mind website here.
If you are going through mental health challenges, there is support available to help you through them.
The below organisations offer practical help, advice and resources to help people through mental health challenges.
Mental health support helplines and websites
The NHS website collates a large number of helplines and support groups covering a wide range of issues, including:
Healthy Minds Bucks
Healthy Minds is an NHS psychological service that helps thousands of people each year cope more effectively with their depression and anxiety.
People can self-refer themselves to the service by telephone, text, or online form, or via their GP or other health professional.
The Samaritans' phone line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Calls are free on 116 123.
Buckinghamshire Mind delivers community-based services across Buckinghamshire and East Berkshire to reach out and ensure everyone with a mental health problem gets access to the help they need.
Rethink Mental Illness
The Rethink Mental Illness advice and information service offers practical help on a wide range of topics such as The Mental Health Act, community care, welfare benefits, and carers rights. They also offer general information on living with mental illness, medication and care.
You can call the Rethink advice and information line, Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm, on 0300 5000 927.
Shout Crisis Text Line
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
For support in a crisis, text Shout to 85258.
Shout can help with urgent issues such as suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship challenges, and more.
If you experience a mental health problem, there are laws to protect you from discrimination at work.
Find these useful links to learn more about:
The charity Mind has compiled advice and resources to help people manage their mental health at work, including:
What can you do to improve your mental health at work?
Advice from Healthy Minds’ Employment Support Service and Richmond Fellowship’s Employment Advisors
"At this time, many of us may experience worries about our ability to cope at work. Think about the questions listed below. These can help you to develop a practical plan to improve your mental health at work – take your ideas to your manager, have an open and honest discussion about them, and agree a plan together.
Use the St John Ambulance self-assessment tool to understand how you are feeling, identify what may be causing you stress and discover some ways to help improve your overall wellbeing.
More and more people are working from home, whether due to lockdown measures or the increasing availability of remote working tools.
The below advice comes from Healthy Minds’ Employment Support Service and Richmond Fellowship’s Employment Advisors:
Healthy Minds has produced a series of videos full of simple steps to managing mental health and wellbeing in the time of coronavirus.
Buckinghamshire Council has a dedicated Health and Wellbeing section on its website, full of resources on:
The council also has a Coronavirus health and wellbeing survey which takes approximately 10-15 minutes to fill out. The survey is about how the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown are affecting your health and wellbeing. The information gathered from the survey will help the council plan local recovery in Buckinghamshire.
Workplaces must be supportive, inclusive and understanding environments that enable people to talk about their challenges if they wish to do so.
Appointing people within your organisation to act as designated 'champions' of mental health and wellbeing can provide others with the perfect sounding board they have been looking for to discuss any problems they are facing.
Buckinghamshire Business First has appointed a Mental Health First Aider to perform the equivalent function of our 'physical' first aiders.
Time to Change is a growing movement led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
As part of its goal of changing the way people think about and act upon mental health challenges, employers are encouraged and supported to appoint mental health 'workplace champions' to help create a supportive, welcoming environment for people to talk about their challenges if they wish to.
There are suggested activities, resources, training sessions and more.
Business owners should never feel that they are alone in their challenges - and not just in the day-to-day running of their business - but with their mental health and wellbeing too.
Local entrepreneurs have shared their advice and personal stories of mental health and wellbeing challenges in order to break through a potential wall of silence and show other business owners that it's okay to reach out for support and to talk through any issues they are facing.
Mark Walker, Ashridge Group
"Business owners don't focus enough on themselves, so look after yourself first and foremost. Exercising and eating properly keeps you fighting fit and lifts your mood, a by-product of which is that you will be more productive. Regardless of how stressful it gets, take time to completely separate yourself from the business. Though it can be tempting to slave away at work with so much on your plate, working longer hours doesn't make you more productive."
Local entrepreneurs share their advice on how to look out for employees and create a harmonious, healthy workplace environment.
James Hakesley, Cube Video
"Make time to speak to your employees about non-work topics. Go for walks, learn about their lives, interests and aspirations."
Mark Walker, Ashridge Group
"Care about your employees’ lives too. Introduce things like workplace walks and make them a strictly ‘no business talk’ zone. This way everyone learns about their colleagues, and this bond creates a healthy workplace."
Buckinghamshire Business First members are offering wellbeing support in a number of different ways.
Visit our offers page for offers related to wellbeing. You can also search the offers page by other keywords.
Throughout the year, special campaigns spanning days, weeks and months will highlight mental health and wellbeing and encourage everyone to think more about the challenges that people go through on a daily basis.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place in in the UK in May each year. The theme for 2020 was kindness.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10th every year. This year's theme is suicide prevention.
World Wellbeing Week
World Wellbeing Week takes place in June each year.