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World Mental Health Day: How to Manage Mental Health in the Workplace

8th October 21

As a society, we spend most of our adult lives at work, so it is essential that we feel supported, particularly as 1 in 6 people experience issues with their mental health in the workplace. Throughout a person’s lifetime, they are going to experience highs and lows, with some of those lows potentially affecting their mental well-being. 

The importance of mental health in the workplace cannot be underestimated, and more companies are realising the need to make positive changes to support their employees. If you work in a management position and want to learn more about how you can better manage mental health in the workplace, then there is no better time to do it than on World Mental Health Day. 

Below, we have highlighted the types of training you can undertake to create a better space for your employees, as well as how to recognise behaviours that indicate problems of mental health in the workplace. 

How is Mental Health Defined? 

Understandably, mental health covers a wide spectrum and cannot be pigeonholed into one area. Essentially, our mental well-being is made up of our emotional and psychological health, with social interactions, relationships, and working environments playing a significant role. 

Our mentality determines how we manage stress, make life choices, and how we relate to other people. Through childhood, adolescence and adulthood, our mental health is essential to our quality of life.  

Often, the terms ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. A person can struggle with their mental health in the workplace regardless of a mental illness, which refers more to the enduring disorders people can experience. 

How Do You Address Mental Health in the Workplace? 

To properly address mental health in the workplace, UK companies should first be aware of the warning signs that may be displayed by their employees or colleagues. While there are some common behaviours, the signs of a mental health issue are not cut and dry. People display varying behaviours, which makes it difficult to spot warning signs early. 

In most cases, a mental health issue is only identified once it has reached a point where it is significantly impacting the individual’s daily life. This fact makes it that much more important for you to know what to look out for when it comes to mental health and workplace life. You can only support your team effectively if you educate yourself on the matter. 


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Generally, an employee or colleague will be disinterested, quiet, and unable to engage effectively once their mental health problem has reached crisis point. However, this is not always the case for everyone, and these behaviours can also be a sign of other things, which makes it tricky to identify the cause. 

However, the importance of mental health in the workplace cannot be ignored, so it is worth engaging in conversation if you feel that a colleague or employee is displaying the below behaviours: 

  • Making regular mistakes 
  • Becoming short-tempered 
  • Struggling with timekeeping 
  • Increased tiredness 
  • Preoccupied 
  • Procrastinating heavily 
  • Unexpected outbursts 
  • Sudden lack of motivation 

To spot signs early on is important, particularly as you can step in to provide support before the issue turns into a crisis. Given how mental health in the workplace affects people differently, you should have a sensitive nature when approaching your colleague or employee. Ultimately, you are there to offer support, and it is their choice to take it. 

What Adjustments Can be Made at Work for Mental Health? 

Most companies have existing processes and policies in place to protect and support their employees, but it is worth reviewing them. The importance of mental health in the workplace is paramount, so companies should put measures in place to create a comfortable and safe environment for workers. 

As a manager, part of your responsibilities is to implement processes and procedures that help your team thrive. To address mental health in the workplace, UK businesses are making a concerted effort to provide the necessary support.  

If you need guidance for managers, and techniques that they can implement into the workplace, consider studying for a Mental Health in the Workplace: For Managers Level 3 Certificate (RQF). This course is taught entirely online through learndirect, the UK’s leading online learning provider.  

Across two units of study, you will gain a solid understanding of the importance of mental health in the workplace and how issues with mental health and workplace environments can intertwine. Below, we have outlined the topics that will be covered during the course 

Unit 1: Introduction to Mental Health, Mental Ill-Health and Well-being

You will begin the course by delving into the following: 

  • Concepts of mental health, mental ill-health and well-being, as well as related subjects and terminology 
  • How mental health can fluctuate over the course of a person’s life 
  • The main types of mental health and mental illnesses 
  • How stress affects mental health 
  • The benefits and limitations of mental ill health diagnoses  
  • Strategies for self-managing mental health 

Unit 2: Mental Health in the Workplace for Managers 

This part of the online course will focus more on the role that managers can play in supporting colleagues with mental health issues. You will cover: 

  • The moral, financial, and legal reasons for supporting well-being in the workplace 
  • The relationship between mental health and workplace settings 
  • How to engage in conversations with employees about mental health 
  • How to develop processes that support employees with their mental wellbeing 
  • The return to work process when it concerns mental health reasons 
  • How to manage the wellbeing of managers in the workplace 

To achieve the recognised Level 3 certificate, you will need to complete two multiple choice exams, which will be completed online. After gaining this knowledge, you will be able to implement processes in your business to address mental health in the workplace. 

In some instances, emergency intervention may be required should an employee or colleague experience a mental health crisis. It is important to know how to handle these situations, and by studying for the Emergency Response for Mental Health in the Workplace Level 2 Award (RQF) you will gain essential knowledge and guidance. 


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Why is Mental Health Important in the Workplace? 

Given how instrumental our mental health is in our behaviours and approaches to daily life, it is important that our well-being is looked after. For someone to perform at their highest level at work, they need to feel supported in all aspects.  

By addressing mental health in the workplace, UK companies will have happier and more productive staff, as well as the following: 

  • Better engaged staff 
  • Enhanced communication 
  • Increased profits 
  • Loyal employees 

Find Out More Today 

Businesses across the UK are taking more responsibility when it comes to addressing mental health in the workplace, but there is always room for improvement. By implementing tried and trusted processes that create a comfortable environment for staff, they will get the support they need.  

If you believe that your business would benefit from online courses that specialise in mental health in the workplace, then learndirect can help. Get in touch with one of our Course Executives today by calling 01202 006 464 and we will discuss the solutions available to you. Alternatively, you can contact us online with your enquiry. 

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