Workplace mental health is something that is part of nearly all of our lives. Over 32 million people are in work in the UK and, as a friend reminded me recently, four in four of us have mental health.
We also spend a significant proportion of our time in the workplace – one third of our adults lives to be precise. For many of us, it’s here that many of the pressures and stresses that most significantly affect our mental health will be experienced. Indeed, research shows that nearly two thirds of us have experienced a mental health issue where work is a contributing factor.
As employers we therefore have a key responsibility for supporting our team’s mental health. This means creating a space where people can thrive; it means creating supportive and engaging working environments, which in turn ensures our organisations are positive and productive places to work. Changing our work culture to achieve this can seem like a daunting process, but with clear guidance and opportunities to learn what works from our peers, it’s a journey all employers can succeed in.
And we are getting there. There’s still a long way to go, but thanks to two decades of intense campaigning, mental health awareness is stronger than ever. This increased focus means that more resources and mental health training is available to UK employers today than at any time in history. This is really positive but it’s fair to say that navigating this landscape isn’t always straightforward.
Today’s launch of the Heads Together Mental Health at Work gateway represents a huge step forward. This new portal will give employers at all stages of their mental health journey access to a comprehensive set of resources and information covering everything from awareness raising, to self-help, to training needs.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is proud to be supporting Heads Together as one of the project’s 11 campaign partners. As part of this collaboration, we have worked closely together to incorporate our range of workplace resources into this new gateway. This includes not only information on mental health training, but also practical awareness raising resources like our Take 10 Together and Address Your Stress toolkits, as well as strategic guides like our Workplace Wellbeing toolkit and our Line Manager’s resource.
The Mental Health at Work gateway means improving support for employees will be that bit easier for managers and senior leaders. As many begin this journey and others advance, collaboration, sharing knowledge and promoting good ideas will be key as the workplace wellbeing agenda progresses. This new co-created resource is a shining example of this.
In 2017 three out of four managers surveyed said they believe there are barriers to supporting their staff. From 2018, thanks to this new resource, accessibility certainly won’t be one of them. Four in four of us have mental health, and four in four of us now have everything we need at our fingertips.