Why It’s Important to Discuss Mental Health in The Workplace All Year Round
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!
For me, the emphasis for this week is on awareness, but actually prioritising mental health – and mental health support in the workplace – is important all year.
That’s one of the (many) reasons I volunteered to join QueryClick’s team of Mental Health First Aiders: to help build and deliver an open, useful wellbeing programme, which is led by our Head of HR, Leeanne.
How have we raised awareness of mental health at QueryClick?
There are a few things the mental health team do to take this seriously, provide a positive work environment and, when needed, give genuine and helpful support to our colleagues.
It’s important to recognise that different people benefit from different approaches. Each month, we make sure to have a balance of social events, alongside those run by our Social Committee, as well as what we call “awareness” events to promote open conversations about our wellbeing.
Recent social events have included:
- A quiz
- Pairing people up for virtual coffees
- A team step challenge (apologies to my team for my low step count—I’ll blame the weather…).
Recent awareness events have included a mix of external speakers (such as a two-part session from Gavin Oattes on how to thrive at work and maintain a positive mindset) and slots run by the mental health team (such as a knowledge share I presented on the “wheel of life” concept, or another colleague sharing their experience with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
Some people prefer the social activities; others prefer the awareness events. And some prefer both. That’s all completely fine, and we definitely respect that some people choose to opt-out and just speak to the Mental Health First Aiders on an individual level instead of attending events.
What’s important to realise is that everyone has different needs and it’s key when approaching mental health in the workplace to recognise this and ensure you are catering for everyone within the business to create an inclusive environment.
Turning the workplace into a safe place for mental health discussions
One of the most crucial points to note about mental health in the workplace is that the burden for a positive, wellbeing-friendly workplace shouldn’t be on the employees; it’s up to the organisation to facilitate that kind of environment. For that to work, the organisation has to be open to listening to its employees and making tangible changes based on that feedback.
I and many others have challenged the status quo and asked tough questions, and fortunately everyone on the management team has been supportive and willing to listen. Some tangible outcomes include:
- Our HR team working closely with line managers to better support their teams
- The introduction of wellbeing action plans (with an opt-out for people who aren’t interested)
- Allowing sick days to be used as mental health days. No one should have to fib and say they have the sniffles when they really just need some time to step away and clear their head.
This process will continue to grow and change, especially as QueryClick moves from 100% remote working to 100% choice, where people can choose to work from home, work in the office, or both. Offering personal choice to our team is central to our approach in our ways of working.
Who are our Mental Health First Aiders?
Headed up by our Head of HR, Leanne, QC’s Mental Health First Aiders work hard to ensure QueryClick is a safe place to be open and honest about our mental health – not just during Mental Health Awareness Week but all year round.
Here’s why they feel it’s such an important discussion to have:
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