Editor's message: In the light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, supporting employees with their mental health has never been more important. Employees may be feeling anxious about their physical health and that of their families, their job security and, if working from home, they may also be experiencing feelings of isolation.
Organisations can help to boost employees’ mental health and wellbeing by encouraging them to talk to colleagues over the phone, or hold online meetings to see others face to face; to take a proper lunch break and get some fresh air outside (if possible with social distancing restrictions); and to seek advice from employee assistance programmes where available.
Employers should be proactive in monitoring the mental wellbeing of their employees and it is important that they understand the issues surrounding mental ill health and encourage disclosure in a sensitive way. Line managers play a key role in supporting employees who have a mental health condition and the employer should make sure that they provide comprehensive guidance and training for managers on how to do this confidently and effectively.
Having a policy or strategy to manage mental health in the workplace underlines an organisation’s commitment to promoting positive mental health and dealing with issues in a supportive way. It can also help to reduce the level of stigma surrounding mental ill health at work.
Sarah Byrne, HR practice editor
HR and legal information and guidance relating to mental health.