5 steps to better support staff mental wellbeing

mental wellbeing
1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week. Is your NHS Trust doing enough to support your staff with their mental wellbeing?

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These statistics are staggering. But the same conclusion can be reached from all of them – we must do more to support staff with their mental health.

5 ways internal comms can improve staff mental wellbeing

As an internal communicator you can help in the mission to better support the mental wellbeing of NHS staff. Here’s how: 

  1. Signpost people to the right places

Mental wellbeing is complex. Each individual may prefer seeking help from different resources. By making them aware of all of these, you will help them to understand their options. These could be: 

  • A reminder of who their trained mental health first aiders are.
  • Links to any professional bodies that can support them.
  • Signposts to charities and helplines (some of which are listed at the bottom of this blog).

Alongside these support networks there will be value in point out what your mental health policy is. Knowing that mental health is taken seriously will always be comforting.

2. Emphasise the behavioural and environmental factors that influence mental health

There will be many factors in the work environment that will have a negative impact on mental health. Making your staff aware of these will help them both manage their own mental health, and reduce the impact their actions have on other people’s mental health. These factors include:

  • Unachievable deadlines
  • Excessive noise
  • An increase in lone working
  • Poorly managed change

By encouraging staff to consider the possible triggers and reminding them to continually monitor for new triggers, the necessary changes or interventions can occur to better support staff.

3. Change perception

As the statistic at the start of this blog pointed out, many people are reluctant to seek professional help. That is no different in the NHS because there is still a huge stigma around mental health. 

Your staff need to feel comfortable and confident in sharing their experiences. They need to know that good health, both mental and physical, is a priority. The best way to achieve this is to lead from the top. By encouraging your line managers and senior leaders to speak openly and honestly about their own experiences, the barriers will begin to lift.

4. Specifically address your line managers

If someone went to their line manager and informed them they were struggling with their mental wellbeing, are you confident that all your line managers would know how to respond? If not, you can help to change this. Through a line manager campaign you can signpost them to useful resources and remind them of a few important factors. These include:

  • Any mental health training available to them.
  • A recap of your mental health policy.
  • A reminder of the importance of regular 1:1s or catch ups.
  • Signposting line managers to guidance on how to start the conversation. (This factsheet has some useful guidance.)

Ultimately, if your staff managers are confident, your employees will feel better supported.

5. Communicate and communicate some more!

The more we communicate about something the more comfortable we feel. But we are all different and we prefer to consume information, and engage, in different ways. Therefore, the more channels you use to spread the message the more aware your staff will be of the commitment to support their mental health. From the induction process, through to articles, posters and weekly tips for line managers. Every time you discuss mental wellbeing, it has the potential to resonate with another person.

Useful mental health resources

There are some brilliant resources available to help you communicate the importance of mental wellbeing. Here is a collection of some of those:

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Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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