The importance of nurturing mental resilience
Assessing the cause of poor mental health
Embed a culture of health & support with Sodexo Engage
Monday 16th January is the third Monday of the month and has long been dubbed Blue Monday. So named due to the wet and grey weather, personal guilt over the Christmas binge, and post-Christmas finances.
Employee mental wellbeing should always be a business priority, but with this notorious date looming, it’s advisable to check in with your employees now.
Take crucial steps to assess their mental health, identify concerns and provide support.
The Importance of Nurturing Mental Resilience
“Our mental health is something that impacts our eating and sleeping habits and has a lot to do with our physical health as well.” talkspace therapist, Bisma Anwar, LMHC
Many experts believe that the quality of our mental health also has knock-on effects on the quality of our physical health. One example given by therapists from talkspace is how ‘heart disease and stress are related, so managing stress must have a positive outcome on heart disease’.
In the same article, talkspace also explains how by looking after our mental health, we can get the physical benefits of an improved mood, reduced anxiety, clearer thinking, boosted self-esteem and improved interaction and relationships with others.
Measuring Mental Health
It can be challenging to recognise the current state of our own mental health, let alone that of our employees. We lead busy lives, and many of us are guilty of brushing signs of ill health under the carpet.
If your business has an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place, you should encourage your people to utilise the tools available to assess and boost their mental resilience.
If you don’t yet offer EAP, you can direct your employees to the online assessment questionnaire via the NHS. This resource will help determine whether you or your employees are feeling stressed or anxious, which can be signs of or causes of ill mental health.
You can encourage but not force employees to participate, so employers and managers should lead by example, being honest and open about their results and the steps they plan to take. This will help remove any stigma or unease employees may feel about theirs.
Health screening is another possible route to take to assess your people's mental and physical wellbeing ahead of determining what support packages or employee benefits your business can put in place.
Assessing the Cause of Poor Mental Health
The concept of Blue Monday gives a few suggestions as to why this time of year can be a low point for our wellbeing. However, mental health is with us daily. It fluctuates and can be impacted by personal and professional triggers.
This guide from MIND highlights numerous factors that can lead to poor mental health, some of which an employer will be aware of, such as bereavement or physical illness, which you can identify through a review of absenteeism records.
From a workplace perspective, an employee’s mental health could be negatively affected by the following:
- A lack of job satisfaction or fulfilment
- Lack of reward and recognition
- Conflict with colleagues
- Prolonged periods of unmanaged stress.
A Cultural Shift is Needed
Here at Sodexo Engage, we encourage employers to prioritise the mental health of their employees. However, the reality is that you should also encourage your people to understand the importance of being aware of their own mental wellbeing.
Lack of Self-Care
Most people understand the unhealthy aspects of their lifestyle, be that physical, mental, or even financial. Yet, many of us continue on the same path, knowing but not making positive changes.
It’s sad to say that as human beings, we often need to reach specific pivot points in our lives before we make positive lifestyle changes.
There are other reasons that people may neglect their mental wellbeing, such as:
- The misconception that it’s ‘taboo’ to express or discuss your feelings
- A lack of understanding about who to talk to and how
- A societal pressure to ‘keep calm and carry on’
- The worry you’ll be showing weakness or letting others down by raising an issue.
Take the Initiative
In addition to employers taking steps to promote and support positive mental wellbeing, they also need to review the role the workplace may be having on mental health.
According to 2021/22 figures published by the HSE, out of the 1.7 million people reported to be suffering from a work-related illness, 822,000 cited work-related stress and anxiety as the cause.
Businesses need mentally resilient employees.
Healthy, happy, and motivated people are productivity, innovation, and profit boosters. As such, it makes sense for employers to take the lead in encouraging their employees to focus on their mental health and provide the additional support they may need.
Embed a Culture of Health & Support with Sodexo Engage
The link between mental and physical health is a two-way relationship since physical health also impacts mental wellbeing - positively and negatively.
Help employees stay healthy by providing information on healthy eating, useful exercises for desk-based workers, and encouraging them to move around as much as possible. You can boost physical wellbeing further by providing your people with access to a Corporate Gym Membership, saving them up to 25% on annual fees and making exercise affordable.
You can also support your employees’ financial wellbeing and secure tax savings for your business by implementing a Cycle to Work Salary Sacrifice Scheme.
As mentioned above, an Employee Assistance Programme is essential for supporting your employees’ mental health. The benefits of this service include wellbeing information on the go – including financial management tools to help alleviate money worries.
Furthermore, our EAP provides your people with access to BCAP-accredited counsellors 24/7, 365 days a year. This means your employees will always have the support they need when they need it.
To reinforce your mental health commitments, we recommend training some employees as Mental Health First Aiders. Empowered to recognise the signs of poor mental health in their colleagues, they can often be the first line of support.
With over 60 years of experience in the employee wellbeing and engagement industry, Sodexo Engage is the partner you and your employees need. Together, we can help you craft the most suitable employee benefits and wellbeing offerings that will significantly impact your people.
Visit our sustainable wellbeing page and request your Wellbeing Guide, which includes an implementation strategy and top mindfulness tips.