It's time to talk about mental health

Creating an open and supportive workplace is key to giving employees the confidence to talk about their mental health. By removing the stigmas, employees are much more likely to seek help if they’re experiencing any mental health issues.

As well as safeguarding employees’ mental health and wellbeing, there are some significant financial benefits to building a supportive workplace. Analysis by Deloitte found that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion a year in absence, presenteeism and staff turnover. It also found that, on average, employers saw a return on investment of £5 for every £1 they spent supporting their employees’ mental health.

Time to Talk Day

One initiative that can help employees to open up about their mental health is Time to Talk Day. The event, which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aims to bust myths and break down barriers around mental health by encouraging people to talk to one another about it.

This year’s campaign – which was on 6th February – uses the popular game ‘Would you rather?’ to help break the ice. By using questions such as ‘would you rather be stuck in a spider’s web or talk to a friend who feels trapped in their own thoughts?’, employees can start a mental health conversation with their colleagues.

As well as these ice-breakers, Time to Talk Day 2020 encourages employers to think about other ways they can get mental health on the workplace agenda. Among the ideas in its Employer’s Pack (available here) are lunchtime walk and talks; pledge walls; and a mental health quiz. The pack includes materials to download and print; internal communication ideas; and more ideas for activities.

Breaking down barriers

Getting the conversation started is essential and at Legal & General, we include a range of resources as standard, to help employers break down the barriers around mental health.

As well as the expected support within our employee assistance programme that's provided by Health Assured, it also includes the My Healthy Advantage App. This easy to use mobile app give employees access to a range of support including mental health information and four week plans to help make lifestyle changes.

Alongside this employees support, our Not a Red Card campaign also helps to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace. By involving famous sports personalities, such as Ricky Hatton, Will Greenwood and Lizzy Yarnold, it helps to remove the stigmas around mental health. Seeing a sporting hero talk about his or her struggles with mental health is a great way to normalise mental health and get employees talking.

For more information on supporting your employees with their mental health visit our Not a Red Card website.