Why You Need More Than A Fire Extinguisher To Truly Support The Wellbeing Of Your People

It’s exciting to see more companies taking action on mental health wellbeing. However the focus remains on being reactive - the fire extinguisher of mental health wellbeing.

This is no bad thing. It’s progress. So although prevention is the most sustainable long term approach, the recent focus on Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) in the workplace is something we can all get on board with.

Mental Health First Aid

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Right now, 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or chronic stress. From an organisation's perspective, this can stop people performing at their best.

MHFA England have created some great resources that can be found here.

A mental health first aider can:

  • Understand the important factors affecting mental wellbeing
  • Identify the signs and symptoms for a range of mental health concerns
  • Listen non-judgmentally and hold supportive conversations
  • Sign-post people to professional help

If you’re looking to get MHFAs trained up for your workplace, feel free to get in touch.

How to Build Your Wellbeing Foundation

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We want to move people from being ‘reactive’ in isolation, to a focus of prevention. Many companies see workplace wellbeing as a collection of programmes owned by Human Resources. This approach can be costly and time consuming, with little long-lasting impact.

Our first objective is to build a strong mental health and wellbeing foundation. It’s the cornerstone of good prevention. With this focus, we help you minimise the instances of poor mental health. We can also help to facilitate early help-seeking and support recovery and return-to-work.

Our foundation assessment starts with a policy audit. Part of this policy audit is entirely free of charge, so please get in contact if you’d like us to carry this out for your organisation.

During a policy audit, we often find that existing policies are generic and not relevant to the workplace. Policies can also be full of jargon that is difficult to understand and follow. In turn, people tend to ignore policy and procedure, and often little or no training is provided following implementation.

Helping Leadership and Teams Build Supportive Environments

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Research by MIND shows that leaders that talk openly about mental health will build more supportive cultures. Mental health cannot live in isolation.

For leadership teams, we provide training, support and 1-to-1 sessions that help leaders to better understand and support their teams. A key outcome is an increased awareness of how people within organisations are feeling day to day. So even when people do struggle with their mental health, you’re more likely to hear about it and better able to support.

Simple, actionable techniques that support wellbeing is a win-win for everyone. If you support the wellbeing of your teams, those individuals will be more effective. Research from Deloitte saw an average £5 return for every £1 invested.

Here's a quick video from psychologist and best-selling author Adam Grant, outlining The 3 Most Important Words a Leader Can Say.

So having your fire extinguisher is important. However, this is only one part of a good foundation.

Most importantly, we remind teams that being kind to ourselves first, and then to others, is the most effective way to make long-lasting positive change.

Hopefully there are a few tips in here that can help you build a foundation that truly supports the wellbeing of your people.

If you’d like to see how we can support your organisation, please get in touch to discuss more.