It’s never been a more important time to think about your own mental health. Taking care of your metal health is just as important as looking after your physical health. It is believed that good mental health helps us to remain resilient and allows us to cope with challenges that present themselves.
Let’s face it, recent times have not given us much to celebrate about, with the costs of living crisis hitting hard after the devastating effects of COVID-19. It’s no wonder that at times we feel overwhelmed, and it can be difficult to see the wood through the trees. You may be wondering where else you can turn, to run through an issue, situation, or problem as, after 2 years of offloading onto the same family and friends, who do you turn to?
Well, the Samaritans are here to support you. The 24 July 2023 is the Samaritans Awareness Day #TalkToUs.
I’ve always known that the Samaritans offer a free and confidential service for everyone but until recently I was unaware that they offered more than just a person to listen at the end of the phone.
The Samaritans have a plethora of information available, including providing employers with support to help manage wellbeing in the workplace through:
o Online learning
o Bespoke training and engagement programmes tailored to organisations – listening skills, understanding and responding to anger, recognising and managing trauma
o Toolkits (Working with compassion)
o Downloadable social media assets
Until this point, I did not realise that my role within Ena-HR and the Samaritans have a lot in common, we both have the same aim!!
“Working with employers across the country to create a happier, healthier and more productive workplaces” – Samaritans
So, what can be done to ensure employees are happy and feel they have someone to talk to?
Talk! Saying nothing is worse
Avoidance is sometimes the easier option than asking someone a question and wishing you hadn’t. Until recent times talking about mental health was difficult and seen as a taboo subject. It would be fair to say that people were frightened of opening up about their mental health for fear of stigma being attached to them, or for people to think that they were different. So, I’m not surprised that people think that talking about mental health can be daunting. However, a simple phase like, “how are you feeling?” can open conversations.
We’ve all been at work and had times when we have felt concerned about a colleague because they appear distracted, or it appears that something is bothering them, so here are a few suggestions and top tips;
o Reach out and ask them if they wish to talk. If they are not ready respect that and tell them that you are there, should they wish to talk at a later date
o Show you care by putting away any distractions (phone/computer) and make eye contact and be present with what they are telling you
o Ensure the focus of the conversation remains on the individual – refrain from talking about a similar situation you had and how you dealt with it
o Be patient as it may be hard for the individual to open up. There’s a well known phase “silence is golden”, use it as it allows the individual time to think about what they want to share
o Ask open ended questions as this will encourage the individual to open up
o Clarify your understanding by repeating some phrases or sentences
o Do not take their problem on your shoulders. Be supportive but signpost when required
o Don’t judge or treat them differently
What can you do as a manager?
At Ena-HR and Training we would recommend that alongside the above, as a manager it may be worth thinking about the following;
o Have regular one to ones. If you are concerned about someone, do not wait until the performance review. Grab a cup of tea and have a chat with your employee
o Sign post them to any literature you have on your organisations system that may be helpful
o Ask them if they are part of a support union and signpost them for advice, support or further guidance
o If required and appropriate, refer them to your Occupational Health department/team for further support (and for guidance for you as a manager – they can provide you with information to help/support the employee)
o Complete any forms that will support the individual moving forward (i.e. a tailored reasonable adjustments passport). This is the individuals document and can be shared with whom they wish to share it with
o If appropriate, offer them a mentor or coach
o Ask them if they have sought advice from their own GP
o Remind them that you are there/available if they need to talk
Ena-HR and Training can help!
At Ena-HR and Training we offer advice, training and materials that can help employers and employees. We offer a tailored, bespoke, and personal service to each company helping with people health checks, managing, and developing people.
Having difficult conversations does not always come naturally, so an Ena-HR and Training we have several courses that may help you and your organisation:
· Effective communication
· How to have difficult conversations
· Leadership management
· Coaching techniques
If you need any support, please contact us at https://www.ena-hr.co.uk/
How can you get involved?
If you’d like to help raise awareness for #TalkToUs and #SamaritansAwarenessDay then please support them on social media by sharing our downloadable social media assets throughout July.
If you’d like to order printed signposting materials, such as leaflets and posters, please sign up to access our online Brand Centre.