The survey of more than 400 employees, conducted with Management Today, found that 62% of line managers are not receiving enough help when it comes to supporting and promoting positive mental health at work for their staff. And less than a third (31%) felt they had been sufficiently trained to identify the signs of poor mental health.
The results indicate that businesses across the UK are not doing enough to support mental health in the workplace.
In fact, more than half of organisations (57%) said that their organisation did not offer any training in mental health and wellbeing and/or did not provide any support for managerial staff. The vast majority of those that did have mental health training and support in place (79%) had made it optional rather than compulsory.
A variety of businesses took part in the survey, which also found that 80% of workers in the UK are reluctant to discuss their mental health with their line managers due to fears about being stigmatised or viewed as incapable to carry out their role.
In addition, a further 30% of respondents said they were worried that discussing mental health problems could lead to them being treated differently at work.
The Head of Advice and Practice at IOSH, Duncan Spencer, explained that line managers played a “vital” role in “creating workplaces that are positive for people’s mental health and wellbeing.”
He added: “We know work is only one factor in someone’s mental health but working for an organisation that’s serious about creating a work culture that doesn’t cause issues such as stress and anxiety can make such a difference.
“What the survey findings tell us is that there’s still much to be done in convincing businesses they need a ‘prevention first’ approach to managing mental health and wellbeing. The good news is that there’s affordable advice and training out there to help them do so.”
Acting on the survey findings, IOSH has now produced a whitepaper to provide businesses with guidance on the role of line managers in promoting positive mental health at work.
In it, IOSH outlines how important it is for line managers to understand how to manage fluctuations in workers’ mental and health and to be aware of the causes and triggers of ill-health, how to recognise when someone may be experiencing a mental health problem and how to advise them about where they can access further support.
The law requires employers to provide physical health and safety training, and IOSH argues that the same requirements should apply to mental health.
They say that line managers can act as a “key asset” in creating healthier, happier and more productive workplaces, but they need to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to help them do this.
Duncan added that businesses need to do further work “to break down the taboos surrounding mental health and creating more open lines of communication.”
He said: “They need to be supporting their managers to fulfil their role by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to promote positive mental health, but without placing unrealistic expectations on them. In return, they will reap the rewards of happier, healthier, more engaged and productive employees.”
First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider. They deliver a wide range of high-quality training to over 70,000 learners annually, working with thousands of organisations and businesses across all sectors.
Their diverse portfolio includes training in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, health and social care, early years and schools and other special focus topics.
FRT have recently developed a number of courses to help improve understanding and awareness of mental health. They can provide a half-day Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace training course, as well as a half-day Anxiety Awareness course. They also offer a 1-day Level 2 Award in Understanding Mental Health which is externally accredited by Advantage Accreditation Limited.
The course will provide people working in any industry sector with an essential awareness and understanding of mental health and common disorders. It will also enable people to identify someone who may be experiencing a mental health problem and provide much-needed help as well as emotional and practical support.
FRT’s mental health training offers proactive strategies to support mental health and information about building resilience and self-care as well as supporting others.
FRT have been careful to ensure that the course includes useful tips for providing practical and emotional support for people, rather than simply imparting information about common mental health disorders and how to spot them.
“The course language advocates a proactive approach to mental health support,” they explain.
“It signposts guidance from mental health charity Mind about ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ to show people how they can take preventative action to protect their mental health and includes sessions on providing support, building resilience and self-care. We encourage learners to go home that night and practice some sort of simple ‘self-care’.”
FRT can also provide trainers to deliver Mental Health First Aid training, accredited and developed by Mental Health First Aid England. There are versions for schools and colleges and others who work with young people as well as for adults, and shorter ‘Lite’ sessions.
FRT also deliver courses in Managing Stress and Stress Risk Assessment, which can be key for employers.
For more information on the training services that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.