The post-pandemic work landscape for mental health

By Joanne Turley · 30 September 2020

The Centre for Mental Health’s report ‘Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health – Forecasting needs and risks in the UK’ highlights that at least half a million more people in the UK may experience mental ill health as a result of the pandemic.

The data is based around previous epidemics internationally and from the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis.

Everybody at some point has found the pandemic stressful whether its juggling home school, feeling isolated and lonely or frustration from poor internet connection.

Most peoples’ mental health will recover quickly as things improve and we find new ways around challenges. But for a significant number, the effects of the pandemic on their mental health will be serious and long-lasting.

Will you be able to identify who these individuals are in your business? Have you got readily available the skills and resources to support them?

Changing the culture within businesses, breaking the barriers and stigma around mental ill health and enabling positive mental health conversations is key. Ensuring informative, reliable and accessible mental health information is available is also important.

Having your Mental health first aiders supporting the “front line” workplace health is going to be invaluable. Ensuring they too have the proper training and support to help their colleagues and in equal measure look after their own mental health in the process is vital.

Many employers are wanting to do “something” around mental health and developing a network of first aiders or mental health “ambassadors” which is a great start.

However, many don’t know how many active Mental Health First Aiders (MFHA) they have in the business, how many people have left, have they been replaced? How many of the original MFHA’s still want to, or can support colleagues?

Many haven’t been given top-up training, access to action learning groups, additional resources or given additional wrap around support from the business. Some colleagues don’t even know who the MHFA’s are in their organisations.

Some of the ways our clients are raising awareness of their MHFA’s colleagues are by:

  • Bio’s on the company intranet of each of the first aiders, with contact details so people can easily contact them
  • Short video of the MHFA’s to introduce themselves to colleagues and explaining what they are doing
  • Marketing around the business, raising the awareness of mental health and that you have X Number of colleagues trained across the business
  • Celebrating World mental health day 10th October
  • Record and share regularly across the business how many people have accessed the service MHFA services i.e 15 people have accessed our EAP/ MHFA this month to de-stigmatise it
  • Have a senior leader champion mental health,
  • Setting up peer support groups for the MHFA’s as a space for them to talk and share things

Just having MHFA’s is just the start of the journey. Our team offer a range of help and solutions to support your employee’s mental health, from the MHFA training awareness and champion courses through to bespoke mental health awareness sessions. We offer top-up training, mentoring support for trained colleagues, alongside signposting to on-line platforms that can support wider mental health support contact or call 07969 315698 to learn more how are team can support your mental health concerns.

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