“Your leg’s broken? Can I get you a sticking plaster? Honestly, I really do care. I want you to be well. I need you to get better. Take the plaster!”
Not helpful is it? Yet, in relation to mental health at work, we hear it time and time again. Businesses rushing in to deliver a sticking plaster to deal with negative attitudes towards mental ill-health and rising rates of stress and absenteeism. It’s time to realise that:
– a quick fix is not the answer.
– ticking a box is not the answer.
– investing in the price of 2 cups of coffee per employee to support their mental health, is not the answer.
Let’s stop and reassess. Even a water-proof sticking plaster’s not going to fix this one, our mental health deserves more.
What we all want, are supportive working practises. This means building, creating and sustaining a caring culture. You can’t do that by sending a few employees on a day’s training and expecting them to be the backbone of support for everyone. That’s not fair – on anyone’s mental health.
The organisations that get it, realise that it has to be driven from the top and delivered across the workforce. It has to be invested in – financially and for the long-term. They know that caring makes sense from a financial, legal and ethical perspective.
What’s especially important is upskilling managers to be confident to have a supportive conversation. This doesn’t mean turning them into doctors or counsellors if they’re manufacturers or administrators. It means ensuring that they can step into these conversations, not away from them; to look out for their colleagues and speak up when they are concerned; to show courage and be human. This is the real action that’s needed to create a mentally healthy culture, one that lives and breathes under the ethos,
This works – just ask the organisations that have started on this journey.
If you really want to engage, if you really want to make a difference, take it seriously. Rip up your band-aids and commit from the heart.
Thanks: Photo by Amin Moshrefi on Unsplash
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