While many organisations are working hard to break the stigmas around mental health, disclosing your own concerns can make you feel vulnerable. This guide from Nuffield Health can help you to plan who to speak to, what to say, and how to progress.
Small ways to make a change
The new year can bring a whole range of emotions. On one hand, it’s known to be a time of starting fresh, setting intentions, and feeling hopeful for the next 12 months. But on the other hand, it can bring anxious thoughts, worries about what you ‘should’ be doing, and concerns about what lies ahead. After all, we’ve been through a lot in 2021. However, January needn’t be defined by overwhelming resolutions – there are lots of small ways to make a change to positively impact mental health at work this year, for you and those around you. Here are a few ideas.
Taking care of you
Stress is one of the leading symptoms of poor mental health, but there are ways to minimise and manage it, such as being active, connecting with others, and taking back some control. Also, a small change that makes a huge difference? Talking about your mental health. We know that conversations can, quite literally, save lives – but it can feel daunting to broach the subject of how you’re feeling. There’s huge bravery in being vulnerable, and by talking to your manager or colleague, you might feel that you’re less alone.
Supporting yourself and others at work
It’s really helpful (and important!) to try and identify what impacts our wellbeing at work. What does good and bad mental health look like for you? What are your triggers, what helps, and how can your manager support you? A wellness action plan is an excellent tool to help understand these points and more – whether you use it just for yourself, or share it with your manager. And whilst many of us continue to work from home, checking in and being aware of what’s impacting us is crucial.
There are all sorts of things that can impact mental health, and it’s worth remembering that many colleagues face extra pressures related to their ethnic background, gender identity or other aspects of who they are. Being an ally is more than making a statement of your intentions. It is about understanding, taking positive actions, and keeping the focus on the people affected by discrimination or prejudice. Below, we’ve included a guide from Mireille C Harper on ten practical ways for White people to be allies to their Black colleagues and friends when it comes to improving the workplace and society as a whole.
Implementing workplace ideas
There are many small things that, as an organisation, you can implement to create a positive change. If you don’t have one already, a mental wellbeing strategy is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your staff and their mental health. It can be tricky to know where to start with something like this – but we can help.
Community at work is hugely powerful – we know a sense of belonging can positively impact our mental health. So how can you create this at work, especially when many of us are working remotely? Randomised coffee trials are a quick, simple and easy way of bringing people together, allowing you to build relationships with people you might not otherwise meet.
Below, you’ll find resources to support you in implementing the ideas above, plus some others we think are helpful.
Resources in this toolkit:
10 steps to non-optical allyship
This Instagram guide, created by Mireille C Harper, explores ten ways for White people to be allies to their Black colleagues when it comes to improving the workplace and society as a whole. It's quick, simple, and non-judgemental.
Creating a 10-minute Pause Space
This guide is designed to help team leaders to run a short session, called a 'Pause Space', which allows staff to take some time to relax, reflect on their work, and show appreciation for their colleagues. It was designed for the NHS, but anyone can use it.
A well-written mental health strategy can help provide guidance when people ask for help, highlight areas that might need improvement, and suggest the ways in which you'll develop your plan. Altruist Enterprises have created a PDF guide to help you.