As we approach Mental Health Month, it’s a good time to take stock and consider strategies to help your workplace on its mental health and wellbeing journey – a journey that perhaps for some managers or team leaders may seem hard to know where to start.

However, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing doesn’t have to be overly complicated or indeed, costly.

There are several simple initiatives that can be implemented to take that first step in your journey. You can make a start by answering these 5 questions about your workplace and your role as a manager or leader.

What does your workplace already do?

Before trying anything new, look at what your workplace already does to support the mental health and wellbeing of its workers. Here are a few examples of what your organisation may already have in place which contribute to positive workplace mental health and wellbeing.

  • Regular, non-work related, check-in meetings with workers to see how they’re going and talk about their lives
  • Opportunities to learn, grow and share knowledge
  • Providing a space where workers can take a break, relax and enjoy each other’s company
  • Celebrating worker’s successes and birthdays, work anniversaries and other exciting events in their lives
  • Supporting workers during challenging times and reassigning some of their work so they have less pressure, including exploring flexible working arrangements and sharing a range of available support services.

Consider how you may be able to expand on these initiatives or how they might be done differently?

What do your workers actually want?

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one - ask your workers what they think will support their mental health and wellbeing at work. You may get some great ideas, plus it’s important for your workers to be heard and feel that they are contributing to their workplace.

Mental health and wellbeing are not just about providing counselling service numbers in times of need. It’s also the actions and activities organisations do that lead to inclusion, connection, safety and trust amongst all workers.

There are several ways you can glean useful feedback. A face-to-face conversation is an obvious way, but if your workers feel more comfortable providing feedback anonymously then an anonymous survey may be more suitable.

Once results have been collected, either face-to-face or through a survey, it is important to act quickly and acknowledge and discuss feedback in an open and honest manner with all your team – it demonstrates that their concerns are being taken seriously and as a result they are more likely to feel heard and valued.

What can you learn from experts?

Sharing information with your team from those who have expert knowledge is a one way to empower workers. With increased knowledge, your team can gain a better understanding of how they can make a difference to their individual mental health and wellbeing and even contribute to their colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing.

SuperFriend are a non-profit workplace mental health organisation who offer a number of educational tools such as online and face-to-face training, research and free mental health resources and guides, all which can help you learn, grow and develop your skills in mental health and wellbeing. For more information browse our Solutions pages.

To encourage mental health and wellbeing conversations at work, TED Talks have over 3,000 talks on mental health. As a starting point, why not explore these two talks that can help you process and present with the concept of stress:

As a manager or team leader, are you leading by example?

A positive leader is interested in their people as individuals, including their strengths and motivations. Investing time and resources in leaders to develop a coaching mindset focusing on workers’ strengths, has a positive influence on workplace mental health1. It also has been shown to improve productivity, satisfaction and wellbeing.

As a leader ask yourself the following:

  • Are you open and upfront with your workers and do you normalise conversations about mental health and wellbeing?
  • Do you demonstrate that your workplace is an environment where everyone is valued, regardless whether they have a mental health condition or not?
  • Do you welcome discussions about mental health and wellbeing openly or in private and do you respect your worker’s cultural, religious and other values?

In addition to considering your team’s welfare, it's important and all too often it’s forgotten to invest time in looking after oneself. By bringing your best self to the workplace as a leader, you can help, support and guide others.

Are you using the best tools and resources to do just that? Learn more about how to support your own mental health and wellbeing with the 5 Ways to Wellbeing Presentation and start thinking about how everyday practices help you stay well, and lead by example.

What other resources are available to use?

If you’re looking for workplace mental health resources for yourself and your team members, there are so many available but are they evidence-based, practical and easy to apply? Here’s a few of our recommended options:

  1. (2021). Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Survey