Supporting mental health at work

Supporting mental health at work
Supporting mental health at work

posted 15 Nov 22

Mental health in the workplace has always been an issue, but it’s become much more prevalent over the last few years, following the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, we have become increasingly aware of the challenges associated with mental health, including how it is largely affecting colleagues in the workplace.

It’s a topic that has always carried a significant amount of stigma, with many employees afraid to open up about their mental health. In their latest report, People Management state that, “nearly half of UK employees fear being honest about their mental health in the workplace because they fear it could harm their career” (People Management: UK employees uncomfortable discussing mental health).

The pandemic forced employers to look at mental health much more closely, including how to identify the triggers, signs and how they can support those who are suffering.

According to, 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year. With employees being a company’s number one asset, it’s a no brainer that investment in employee health and wellbeing should be high priority.

At Search we want to help you identify the support you can provide employees to drive open conversations and ensure proactive management of their health and wellbeing.

Mental health resources

Providing a toolkit of helpful, resources, guidance and useful networks can make all the difference in increasing awareness of mental health. Furthermore, it’s a really helpful, impartial and practical tool to help employees understand why they might be feeling a certain way, what help is available and how they can better manage their wellbeing. The right resources and guidance can help ease an issue before it becomes bigger for the individual and subsequently a lot more challenging to manage.

Check out Mental Health at Work, an online gateway developed by Mind, which brings together a range of resources, key information and case studies in one place. No matter your industry there’s sure to be lots of useful information in there you can use in your workplace. It may even inspire you to develop your own toolkit!

Make positive wellbeing and mental health the foundation of company culture

Make sure your team knows that wellbeing and mental health is at the heart of your company culture. From celebrating wellbeing activities and awareness events to promoting work-life balance and self-care, it’s vital for employees to realise they don’t need to sacrifice their own mental health for a successful career. At Search, we have revolutionised our training programmes and employee engagement initiatives over the past two years, in order to proactively build a culture of transparency, support and communication. Speaking about what this has done for Search, Emma Tugwell, Senior Talent Development Manager, says:

Throughout lockdown we ran a series of engagement events called ‘Search Connects’ to encourage our employees to take time out for their own personal wellbeing. We provide regular industry-leading inclusive events and incentives which illustrates our commitment to reward, motivate, support and invest in our employees. Due to this we have seen improved employee retention, higher productivity, and increased morale. The development programme has also enabled us to recognise and train future leaders.

Emma Tugwell, Senior Talent Development Manager, Search

Invest in mental health training sessions

With the historic stigma mental health carries in society, it can often take a lot of courage for people to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of mental health, especially at work. However, with the right levels of training and support employers can encourage a dialogue of openness and honesty. Workshops and training sessions are key in supporting people to learn about common mental health conditions, how to spot signs early on and how to ask for help. This is particularly important for people managers, who play a pivotal role in ensuring a positive attitude and proactive management of health and wellbeing for their teams.

According to Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) employers should provide all line managers with specific training and support in how to manage employee mental health. Although research currently shows that, “less than a third (30 percent) of managers have received training on mental wellbeing at work” (People Management on mental health training).

Seeking advice from charities and organisations such as Mind, Mental Health at Work and Business in the Community on health, training and cultural change will help employers drive a positive and supportive environment to encourage communication and positive wellbeing.

Encourage communication to reduce stigma

Understanding your employees is a key factor in identifying stresses, pain points and challenges. Regular check-ins can naturally encourage open conversations and find ways to address problems and find solutions.

Creating an action plan along with those in your team can be a practical way of supporting your teams’ mental health – and your own! Mind has some great examples of action plans for different styles of working, such as working in the workplace, remotely and hybrid working.

Mental health is a complex topic and there is certainly not a one size fits all approach. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive but is a good starting point in supporting a positive approach to mental health at work. If you’re concerned about someone or need help with personal challenges, there are a number of networks and health professionals you can talk to, such as and Mind.