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Ten Point Plan for a Successful Mental Wellbeing Strategy

Poor mental health cost the UK economy £34.9bn last year (Centre for Mental Health). There is a plethora of evidence and statistics which show why employers should prioritise improving the mental health and wellbeing of employees both from improving the business bottom line to the broader societal benefits.

By supporting a mentally healthy workforce, employee engagement, recruitment, retention and productivity all increase and as such a strong wellbeing strategy should be embedded throughout an organisation.

Here are our ten key areas to consider when developing a mental wellbeing strategy for your employees:

1. Senior leaders and managers need to take responsibility and act as role models by practising behaviours that promote positive mental health.

2. Create a good working environment which promotes positive mental health, this can include; working with managers to ensure workloads are not causing undue stress and pressure, reward success and have open and transparent communications underpinned with a clear feedback structure.

3. Enable an open mental health culture which encourages regular discussion and work to reduce the stigma surrounding poor mental health. Consider how you can use role models within the business to share personal stories or recruit mental health champions.

4. Give managers the confidence to recognise the signs of poor mental health and how they can support employees by offering mental health awareness training and opportunities for regular conversations.

5. Assess your organisational flexible working policies and practices and how this can support employees with their mental wellbeing.

6. Promote a positive work life balance by encouraging employees to take lunch away from their desks, promote a culture of not emailing outside of work hours and reducing expectations of individuals to be working whilst away from the office.

7. Support and promote national mental health campaigns to raise awareness, such as World Mental Health Day

8. Signpost to expert local services and organisations who can offer advice and guidance on mental health or consider offering an Employee Assistant Programme for your employees.

9. Consider committing to an employer pledge, such as ‘Time to Change’ with an aim to reduce mental health related stigma and discrimination.

10. Promote a culture of supporting the overall health and wellbeing of employees and promote the broader positive impacts that physical activity, volunteering and nutrition can also have on mental health.

Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting

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