Thriving at Work – Six Mental Health Core Standards
These statistics are taken from the ‘Thriving at Work Implementation guide developed by MIND in a review commissioned by the government published 2017:
- ‘One in six British workers are affected by mental health problems like anxiety, depression and stress every year
- 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year
- Around 15 per cent of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition
- The cost of poor mental health to the economy is between £74billion and £99billion per year
- With mental health problems affecting one in six British workers each year’
The review aimed aims to address the issue of promoting good mental health in the workplace and sets out six mental health core standards for employers.(The report also contains four enhanced standards for leading national employers).
As well as enabling people to thrive, additional benefits for the employer who implements these standards could be a reduction in absenteeism due to poor mental health, a reduction in presenteeism (where a person is present at work but not working to their full potential due to mental ill health) and a more healthy and satisfying workplace where employees are not afraid to seek support for their mental health issues.
With so many people experiencing mental health issues we cannot ignore the impact this has on their lives as well as the workplace. Supporting people to thrive in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility but most of us do not really know how to go about it.
This is a summary of what each Core Standard includes
Core Standard One: Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that encourages and promotes good mental health of all staff and an open organisational culture.
Your mental health at work plan needs to promote a positive culture where people feel able to talk about their mental health. The plan should be formally written down, even if it is only as an overview with elements included in other policies and procedures and should show your current and future employees that you care about their wellbeing. Your plan should include:
- how you will promote the wellbeing of all staff
- how you will tackle the work-related causes of mental health problems including
- routinely taking stock of the wellbeing of your staff
- how you will support staff experiencing poor mental health
- signposting to relevant sources of information and support both inside and outside your
- offering clear objectives which are shaped around your organisational vision
- reference to the Equality Act 2010, acknowledging that mental health may be classified
- as a disability.
- take their full annual leave entitlement.
Core Standard Two: Develop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools and support accessible.
- Help people understand mental health. Provide staff with reliable information – MIND website is a great place to start.
- Talk about mental health.
- Share your experience.
- Put in place, and shape, mental health programmes and policies at work.
- Recruit Mental Health Champions.
Core Standard Three: Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling, during the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, with appropriate workplace adjustments offered to employees who require them.
Offering mental health support isn’t a one-off action. Having open conversations about, and offering support for, mental health should happen from recruitment to returning to work after absence.
Offering the right support at different stages
- Stage one – recruitment
- Stage two – induction
- Stage three – responding to disclosure (if someone tells you they have a mental health problem, or you think they do).
- Stage four – supporting an employee when they are unwell and off sick
- Stage five – supporting people to return to work.
Core Standard Four: Provide your employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work/life balance and opportunities for development.
Five ways to build a positive workplace:
- Be open
- Use two-way communication
- Promote work/life balance
- Offer flexible working
- Provide opportunities to develop
Core Standard Five: Promote effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and wellbeing with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader and train and support line managers in effective management practices.
Checklist for managers:
- Lead by example
- Build your confidence on mental health
- Normalise mental health
- Take stock
- Be available for your staff
The website www.mind.org.uk/media/25263166/how-to-implement-the-thriving-at-work-mental-health-standards-final-guide-online.pdf contains a PDF- ‘How to implement the Thriving at Work mental health standards in your workplace’ created by MIND as part of the review. It contains further information on the standards and tools to help create and implement the plan as well as sources for further information on mental health topics.
In further articles about the standards I will look at how the particular challenges of the Care Sector need to be acknowledged and tackled in promoting good mental health.