We normally focus on physical risks when we think about workplace safety, but mental health can hugely impact on productivity and personal safety.  Unfortunately, suicide is not uncommon amongst construction workers, and it was estimated that over 1000 construction workers committed suicide in Ireland alone between 2008-2012 (Pieta House).  This blog post will give you a few tips on how to accommodate mental health in your workplace!

 

Company Culture:

Relationships built within the workplace become an important part of our lives, and can have a huge impact on our mental health.  So, by creating an open, supportive and friendly company culture, you can have a positive impact on mental health, and create an environment where talking about these issues is okay.

 

See The Signs:

As part of your company culture, you need to be able to discuss these issues if they appear in a colleague.  While they shouldn’t feel attacked or pressured, it can be really helpful for you to just ask if you are okay.  Similarly, if they open up about any problems they are experiencing then providing them with useless resources (such as helpline numbers) could literally save their live.

The following signs are important to look out for if you are worried about a colleague:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Decreased performance
  • Increased isolation and reduction in social contact
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase in alcohol/drug abuse
  • Talking about death

 

Educate & Inform:

It is so important that everyone in your team has an understanding of mental health, and there is plenty of campaigns and educational material out there which will inform your staff.  Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/) is one of the best places to go for information on mental health, for people who are suffering and people who are supporting.

 

Reduce Stress:

One of the biggest contributing factors to stress can be work, and this can lead to illness and mental health problems.  So, try to reduce stress in your workplace by:

  • Ensuring that your employees are not overworking
  • Ensuring that they take necessary breaks
  • Ensuring they are trained and confident in their position
  • Make employee wellbeing a priority

 

Hopefully these tips on how to accommodate mental health in your workplace have helped to give you an idea of how to provide support to your team.  Below we have attached some great resources:

 

International helplines: http://togetherweare-strong.tumblr.com/helpline

Resources from Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/useful-resources/