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Support managers to discuss mental health with staff during Covid-19

In March of this year, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) issued a press release stating that ‘only 31% of managers are thought to have the confidence to have sensitive discussions around mental health and signpost staff to expert sources of help.’

We are indeed living in challenging times with the Covid-19 pandemic; however, many organisations are choosing to take a proactive approach when it comes to looking after the mental health of their staff.

A rapid review of the psychological impact of quarantine, published recently in The Lancet, demonstrated the many potential adverse effects of being quarantined, including emotional disturbance, depression, stress, difficulty sleeping, low mood, irritability and anger (Brooks et al., 2020). Notwithstanding the benefits for some in, for example, no longer having to commute, mass social isolation is likely to result in mental health difficulties for a considerable number of people.

Risks of Working from Home

Many managers will already be acutely aware, through communicating with colleagues, of the risks around home working, social isolation, uncertainty, possible redeployment and changing personal circumstances as they try to take the appropriate action to support their teams effectively.

There is an increased risk that without that connection and support from the organisation, unhealthy coping mechanisms may be the result; such as increased alcohol consumption and drug use, increased aggression e.t.c. These have discernable negative impacts on the individual as well as impacting the organisation.

Mental Health Awareness Training

Our mental health awareness training provides managers with the skills to have sensitive discussions around mental health and signpost staff to expert sources when needed.  This live, virtual training encourages managers to understand the link between mental wellbeing and emerging mental ill-health as well as spot the early warning signs.  Managers need to be comfortable having discussions about mental health and recognise they will often be the first port of call when a colleague wants to raise an issue.  

The CIPD recommends that employers do the following during and after the crisis:

  • Support and guide managers so that they feel equipped to have sensitive and supportive discussions with staff.
  • Remind managers about the importance of communicating regularly with their team and asking how they are
  • Encourage staff to practise self-care such as a healthy routine for diet, sleep and relaxation.
  • Promote their existing health and wellbeing benefits and support, e.g. signposting people to their counselling helpline.

Our mental health awareness courses are delivered in a live, virtual format.  Please contact us for more information or call us on 01383 324 122.

Mental Health Awareness: Bitesize virtual live training sessions

Here is an example of the short, bitesize training sessions we are currently offering via live, virtual training platforms:  Each sub-heading in bold below is a one-hour session, these can be delivered individually or grouped together.

Introduction to mental health

  • Stigma and ways of addressing this
  • Social isolation and the importance of meeting emotional needs

Supporting colleagues with mental health conditions

  • Anxiety and related conditions such as OCD, PTSD, eating disorders
  • Depression and associated conditions such as Bi-Polar, Psychosis
  • Conversations and actions that help those struggling and those that do not
  • Good manager and leader behaviours that promote wellness

Leadership and Management behaviours that promote good mental health

  • Supporting people as they manage home working/distractions
  • HSE Management Competencies for Stress
  • HSE Management Standards for Stress and their practical application

National frameworks and legislation

  • Tools to support leaders
  • Wellness Action Plans
  • Time to Change
  • Risk Management
  • Reasonable adjustments
  • Disabilities legislation as it relates to mental health

Resilience and the five ways to wellbeing

  • Lifestyle and emotional health: exercise, nutrition, sleep, connection and rest

Practical strategies to avoid the stress response

  • Six quick emotion regulation techniques
  • Coping: helpful coping choices to make in place of unhelpful coping mechanisms (alcohol/drug use, overworking, aggression)

In Equilibrium’s mental health awareness training courses create the right channels to open up and discuss mental health. Proactively bringing the issues and challenges into the open enables staff to explore strategies to create a more positive mindset. These actions help the individual and the organisation to be even more future-fit when the lockdown ends.

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