Mental Health Awareness Week
Recommendations for Employers
This week the Mental Health Foundation are hosting the annual Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is kindness.
Click here to see the campaign, ways in which you can get involved and help drive conversations about mental health and kindness.
Why kindness? The Coronavirus pandemic has increased stress and anxiety for many people. Concerns include being able to maintain a job and income, helping children adjust to online learning, becoming ill with COVID-19, or seeing a loved one suffer from it. The Mental Health Foundation have advised that the theme is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic – with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus. The Foundation have chosen kindness because of its ability to unlock our shared humanity and strengthen relationships, which is more important now than ever as we continue to social distance.
So how can you practice kindness during social distancing? We can reframe social distancing as an act of kindness in itself towards others and of course the NHS. There is no shortage at the moment of examples of acts of kindness within the community. People are checking in with one another remotely or coming together to do virtual quizzes and others are setting up groups to offer support to the elderly or vulnerable.
From an employment perspective, how can you support yourself and colleagues during these difficult and uncertain times?
There is a huge emphasis on staying connected remotely with colleagues, with other businesses particularly if you are a small business or self-employed (exchanging ideas of ways in which you can pivot business during these unprecedented times can make all the difference), with others who can help for example support groups or communities specific to your field and also knowing how to disconnect yourself from work when your workspace has become your personal space. The Mental Health at Work organisation have helpfully put together a collection of resources to help you with staying well, staying at home and staying connected.
If you manage a team, you might be worried about how your staff are getting along, especially if you know they live alone or are a carer. It is important to continue to check in with your staff during the lockdown – their circumstances might have changed since the last time you spoke, and they might need different support now. The Mental Health at Work organisation have again put together a further collection of resources to help you as the lockdown continues. It includes tips on staying focused, keeping your anxiety levels low, and supporting colleagues who might be having a harder time due to social isolation.
The mental health charity, Mind, has created a page on its website to Coronavirus and wellbeing information. It covers practical advice for staying at home, taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, support for work, benefits and housing and a checklist for staying at home. Mind also have a support helpline for those who might need it.
We have set out below links to the resources cited above and we suggest that you circulate these to your staff/colleagues and remind them who the business’ mental health First aider is (if you have one). You could also pass these on to other businesses or contacts.
- https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/coronavirus – a toolkit on ‘coronavirus and isolation: supporting yourself and your colleagues’
- https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/small-businesses-and-the-self-employed-taking-care-during-the-pandemic/ – a toolkit on ‘Small businesses and the self-employed: taking care during the pandemic’
- Minds general Coronavirus and wellbeing information: https://www.mind.org.uk/information support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
- The Action for Happiness organisation have put together a free 10-day online coaching program which guides you through daily actions for happier living, all based on the latest research. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining, here is the link: https://10daysofhappiness.org/
We are all ready and able to help you if you have a query
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