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Mental Health Awareness Week

Published on: 12/05/2023

As we look ahead to Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme for this year is focused on anxiety. With 1 in 10 of us living with or tackling an anxiety disorder at any given time within the UK, we can no longer stand back and think it's 'just anxiety'. Mind reported around one third of adults have said their mental health has got much worse since March 2020. With post-COVID anxiety, the current increase in the cost-of-living, and other day to day life stresses, there has been a huge increase in mental health support that is needed for people.

In a workplace setting, these feelings can become more prominent and may grow worse over time. Helping employees to deal with these emotions whilst giving them space to speak openly about them is essential.

So, how can a business support its employees? Below are some ideas that you could integrate into your workplace, to support colleagues who may be struggling with feelings of anxiety or low mood:

Coffee and chat sessions
Holding 'coffee and chat' sessions, where employees can speak openly about how they are feeling, could be a great way to start a conversation. Making sure this takes place in a safe, private space, will ensure you both feel comfortable. These sessions need to be non-judgemental, and, as an employer, you will need to be prepared to share further information or sign-post your employees to places where they can get additional help, if required. By providing regular sessions (I.e. monthly where possible) it will help to create a trusting relationship between employers and employees, where the employees feel supported and valued.

Mental Health first aid
Having a team member who is fully trained in Mental Health first aid provides a resource to other members of your team, when they feel it would be beneficial to speak to someone who they can trust and who is able to offer the support they may need. The selected person can provide advice and signpost to materials that they may not already be aware of, providing that extra bit of support that could make a difference to the way they are feeling. Having a qualified mental health first aider in place is becoming increasingly common in a workplace and can help you demonstrate your commitment to your employee's overall wellbeing.

Give employees control
A common contributor towards feelings of anxiety can be excessive amounts of stress, which can often cause a person to feel overwhelmed or like they have no control. Giving employees a chance to take ownership of their workloads or the location where they complete their work could help when those feelings present themselves. You may also wish to set up an open forum, where employees can provide feedback on how they feel about work etc. This could take place via an online survey, a workshop or even individual interviews. Once these have taken place, you can work to devise a plan of how to implement changes/adjustments to support employees who may be struggling. Again, this will allow your employees to know that you care and show that you are taking the importance of their mental health seriously.

Reasonable adjustments
Every employee will have different needs at different times. However, sometimes it may only take one small adjustment, whether within the workspace or related to that person's workload, to help someone feel more comfortable. Having an open mind to people's situations and a pragmatic approach could really help employees feel heard and supported.

Mental Health Specific Days
It's becoming increasingly likely for organisations to include mental health days for their teams. This is an allocation of up to 3 paid days off offered to your employees. These days can be taken when needed. This could be due to a bad mental health day, a panic attack, increased anxiety or depression, exhaustion or even burn-out. The days are designed to be non-judgemental and support your teams' mental health. Having these as paid days off helps your team know you care, and early intervention can help your employees potentially take less time off later.

Consider offering external support to your employees, partnering with a local mental health hub or even an online service that employees can take advantage of when needed. This can help create a healthy, caring culture that many employees seek. When you are looking after your team, they will come to work with a more positive attitude. This also helps to create loyalty within your team and encourage them to stay as they know you really care.


As an employer, anything you can do to support your staff can make a big difference to morale, productivity and their overall sense of happiness at work. To find out more about Mental Health awareness week, visit the link below:

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