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How To Support
Mental Health in the Workplace

In recent years, mental health in the workplace has become a major focus, and with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a spike in many people’s anxiety, monitoring and supporting mental health at work has never been more important.

When the government ordered a national lockdown a year ago, many employment routines immediately shifted – and individuals were left feeling uneasy as a result of an increase in remote work, self-isolation, and health-related worry. The pandemic also aggravated existing mental health difficulties for many more.

Importance of mental health in the workplace

Mental health at work is one of the primary reasons for absenteeism in the UK workplace.

Research studies also provide strong evidence that companies with high levels of mental health awareness are more successful. According to research by University of Warwick, addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by up to 12%.


Placing importance on the mental health of employees can help with:

  • Allowing employees to flourish
  • Staff retention
  • Making employees feel more safe and confident in the workplace


How to best support mental health in the workplace

woman wearing gray jacket

There are a number of things that you can do as an employer to help promote a workplace that prioritises mental health and takes it seriously. Some of these include;

Create a culture that encourages open communication

Mind has reported that one in five adults in the UK felt they couldn’t tell their boss if they felt overly stressed at work, and less than half of people diagnosed with a mental health problem had told their manager.

Perhaps the most important thing an employer should do to combat this is to foster a culture of openness around mental health. This will ensure employees receive support as soon as possible before it develops into a serious problem.

To do this, organisations should make it clear that mental health will be treated the same as physical health, and employees will not be discriminated against. Managers should feel approachable around mental health issues, knowing where to point employees if they’re in need. 

While culture change is slow, it’s a crucial step and will help employees feel confident when discussing their mental health and wellbeing.

Mental health in the workplace training

According to mental health charity Mind, 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.

Mind not only have free online resources to help you get started – but they also offer comprehensive training for employers and employees on how to deal with mental health in the workplace.

Mental health first aid

Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to aid someone who is having a mental health crisis. You will master risk factors and warning signs for mental health difficulties, as well as tactics for helping someone in both crisis and non-crisis circumstances and where to get treatment.

St John Ambulance runs a 2 day mental health first aid course – where successful participants will be awarded the FutureQuals Level 3 Award in Mental Health: Workplace First Aider qualification. This means they are suitably able to identify those who require mental health support and the confidence to offer assistance when required. 

Mental health in the workplace policy

Employers have a ‘duty of care’ –  meaning they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. Putting in place a policy lays forth guidelines for preventing and treating mental illnesses, as well as encouraging mental health at work.

Just a few examples of what should be included in a policy include:


  • The policy should apply to all employees, and it is your obligation to explain it to your teams and ensure that it is implemented throughout the organisation.
  • The policy should state what you intend to do as a company to recognise and help employees who are having difficulties.
  • How the employer will address work related stress and stress related absence

two men talking

Make reasonable adjustments

If an employee has opened up about their mental health, it may be that they are in need of reasonable adjustments at work to give them the necessary support. 

These adjustments can be simple and cost-effective, such as:

  • Working from home (with check-in calls)
  • Change to working hours, such as flexible hours or shift patterns
  • Monitored or decreased workload
  • Lightbox to help increase light at workstation
  • Agreement for employee to attend therapy during working hours
  • Increased positive and/or constructive feedback
  • Mentoring or ‘buddy’ systems
  • Additional training at work

These are just some of the steps you can take to address mental health struggles – you may have to test and trial different approaches before you find the one that works for each individual. 

Contact us

We provide dynamic office space that caters to all types of businesses and ways of working so that your business can ensure employees are happy, engaged and productive. Allowing employees to work flexibly, from office spaces that spark creativity, can help to promote positive mental health.

Check out our serviced office spaces near you and contact us with any specific requirements or questions you may have.