18 May 2018
Mental Health at Work

How to talk about mental health at work

  • 95% of employees that call in sick because of stress will give a different reason.
  • One in three of us experience a mental health problem at work but people still class it as an awkward, difficult or inappropriate topic to discuss in the workplace. (Time to Change)

At the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s time to normalise mental health conversations. Here are some suggestions to help you open up a conversation about mental health at work:

Talk about personal experiences

A great way to normalise attitudes to mental health at work is to have senior leaders speak out about their experiences of it. This helps to set an example to the rest of the workforce that it is ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to talk about it.

Publicise the facts 

Normalise mental health by sharing facts and starting a discussion around them. Here are some to get you going:

  • 1 in 6 workers experience depression, stress or anxiety.
  • Mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK.
  • 1 in 10 people have resigned from a job due to stress, 1 in 4 have thought about it. 
  • 19% of staff feel they can’t speak to managers about stress at work.

Show you care

Just asking ‘how are you?’ and taking time to listen properly to the response can make an enormous difference to people. 

Answer honestly 

If you are struggling, answer honestly when people ask you how you are. You can do this in a private setting with those you trust. If we talk about it more, less of a stigma will be attached to mental health. 

Share news stories and tips

Keep sharing news stories related to mental health to start a discussion. You may also want to share tips on how employees can look after their own wellbeing.