Last reviewed 18 April 2019

A leading mental health charity has launched free online training for small to medium-sized organisations in order to promote better wellbeing in the workplace

The free training is aimed at organisations with fewer than 250 employees and is available online at Mental Health at Work.

The training, intended to build staff confidence in thinking and talking about mental health, includes three modules: building your awareness; tips to look after yourself; and tips to support colleagues.

Each module takes 20 minutes to complete and there is also a guide alongside to help employers roll out the training successfully in their organisations.

The training has been funded by The Royal Foundation and workplaces can access it through the Mental Health at Work website, which is an initiative by Heads Together and Mind, launched by the Duke of Cambridge in September 2018.

Faye McGuinness, Head of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes at Mind, explained that poor mental health is now the number one reason for staff absence.

Mind’s major study into workplace wellbeing has revealed that poor mental health at work is widespread, with nearly half (48%) of all people surveyed saying they have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.

Mind’s research also found that roughly three in five people said their mental health was good or very good (58%), while 13% of respondents said that their mental health was currently poor or very poor.

Of those who said their mental health was poor, a huge 82% said that this was work-related — either due solely to problems at work, or a combination of problems in the workplace and elsewhere.

“For small workplaces, employees are the most valuable asset”, Ms McGuinness said. “We are beginning to see employers prioritise the mental health of their staff, but we have some way to go. Not only is looking after staff the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense, resulting in increased productivity, morale and retention”.

Mental Health for Small Workplaces has been developed by Mind with support from organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

Comment from CEO of Health Assured David Price

Although this is voluntary and there is no obligation upon employers to make use of it, the training could be a useful alternative for smaller companies who may struggle to afford the use of an Employee Assistance Programme or other options when considering the mental health of their workforce.

Employers have nothing to lose from undertaking the modules and it may prove useful in maintaining appropriate procedures for identifying and responding to mental health in the workplace.

It should be remembered that employers do have a legal duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Poor employee mental health can be very damaging to a company, potentially resulting in decreased production, prolonged absences and the loss of otherwise valuable employees.