Archive for February, 2018

Creating a culture of acceptance around mental health at work

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Creating a culture of acceptance around mental health at work

According to the Thriving at Work report, an independent review commissioned by the government last year into how employers can support the mental health of their employees, the annual cost of poor mental health to employers is estimated at between £33 billion and £44 billion. Yet despite these huge costs, there continues to be a negative stigma attached to mental health within our society and in our workplaces.

A recent article in The Metro reports on the experiences of five people who told their employer about their mental illness. The good news is that some of these people had really positive experiences with their line managers working with them to address and manage their illness so they could thrive at work. For others, their experience highlights how poorly mental health continues to be managed in the workplace.

“One of the biggest barriers to improving the culture of acceptance around mental ill health is that line managers lack the training, skills and confidence to have the right conversations and effectively support others. As a society we need to work harder to remove this negative stigma and in the workplace, employers can help by ensuring that line managers are properly trained and better equipped to deal with difficult and challenging situations. Over the last 12-18 months, we’ve seen an increase in the number of trained mental first aiders and mental health champions in the workplace as employers recognise the need for action. While this is a welcome step forward, part of the issue is that simply investing in this type of training is not enough. Developing mental first aid skills is a process that needs to evolve over time and employers need to make sure their line managers have the right post training support and guidance in place to ensure they get it right. This is an area that EAPs have particular expertise in and we urge employers to talk to their EAP provider about how they can work together to provide ongoing coaching for line managers around mental ill health ,” said Andrew Kinder, Executive Member of EAPA UK.

Encouraging an open dialogue on mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in mental health

Encouraging an open dialogue on mental health

The Mental Health at Work report published last year by Business in the Community (BITC) found that only 11% of employees had discussed a recent mental health problem with their line manager and that half of employees said they would not discuss mental health with their line manager. “While we are seeing a greater focus and commitment from employers to create mentally healthy workplaces, there is still much work to be done to address this fear around speaking out about mental health at work,” said EAPA Chair, Neil Mountford.

“An important first step is to foster a culture of acceptance so that employees are not anxious or intimidated about discussing mental health in the workplace. There is no quick fix, this is about creating a long term cultural shift in attitudes and approach but what is clear is that the most effective way to this is to ensure it is openly championed by senior management and becomes embedded in the company’s values. Encouraging ambassadors and champions, from across all levels of the organisation, to share their stories is crucial as these can be used to initiate further discussions in team meetings and in one-to-ones as is equipping line managers with the mental health first aid tools, training and ongoing coaching they need to support and encourage their teams to speak out.

24 hour counselling

“It is well known that EAPs offer a 24 hour counselling service which can be accessed by employees, but there is much less awareness around the wide range of other services offered by our registered EAP providers such as stress audits, risk assessments and mental health first aid training and ongoing coaching for line managers which can support both the development and implementation of mental health strategies in the workplace. We are also seeing the most enlightened employers using new technology to create opportunities for dialogue and openness with the use of digital forums that link into EAPs and the overall mental health strategy and systems they have in place,” said Neil.

EAPA AGM 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA AGM 2018

EAPA’s 2018 AGM took place at the Health & Wellbeing @ Work conference at the NEC in Birmingham on Tuesday 6 March at 5.15pm. This year’s meeting was particularly significant as it saw the launch of the UK’s first independently developed and researched Return on Investment calculator which has now been made available for employers and the EAP industry to use. The launch of the EAP ROI calculator marked the completion of an industry-funded research project, commissioned by EAPA and carried out by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), over the last two years. Professor Stephen Bevan, who has led the development of the calculator at the IES, was the guest speaker at the AGM, demonstrating how the new EAP ROI tool works and explaining the calculations that lie behind it.

“This year’s AGM was a great opportunity for our members to get a first look at the calculator before it went live on the EAPA website as well as ask questions and discuss where we go next in terms of research or other projects to support the industry,” said EAPA Chair, Neil Mountford.

Time to Talk about mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in mental health, News

Time to Talk about mental health

We know that there’s no perfect time or place to talk about mental health, but we also know that conversations change lives. Encouraging friends, colleagues and family members to speak out is what Time To Talk day is all about and we applaud this campaign which aims to help destigmatise mental health in our society and in our workplaces.

“And when it comes to developing a mental health strategy, EAPA UK encourages employers to talk to their EAP providers about the wide variety of services and support available. The first step should be identifying the issues that are preventing the organisation from managing mental health and EAP providers can play an important role in this by carrying out risk assessments, stress audits and working with employers to develop the overall strategy. The second step is around training and coaching for line managers and again many EAP providers will offer services specifically targeted at line managers designed to help them better understand and manage mental health in the workplace. And finally, employers can offer support to their employees experiencing mental health issues by providing access to an EAPs counselling service.

“All too often EAPs are seen only as a counselling service for employees but this is just one part of the support and services that EAPs can offer to employers. So make time to talk to your EAP partner about all the different ways in which they can support mental health in the workplace and maximise opportunities to tap into this often underused and untapped expertise,” said Neil.

Read more about how EAPs can support mental health at work in one of our latest EAPA UK factsheets here.

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