Top 3 Reasons to Train Employees in Mental Health Awareness

Top 3 Reasons to Train Employees in Mental Health Awareness

Posted by Amanda Furness


One in six British workers is affected by a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression every year.  Although we know that, with the right support, people with mental health problems can perform their roles in the workplace as well as anyone else; we also know that mental health stigma and discrimination remains an issue in the UK workplace.

The Time to Change initiative challenges mental health stigma and discrimination and gets people talking about their experiences.  Some of the positive case studies illustrate the hugely important part both employers and colleagues can play.  For example on page 14 of the Spring 2014 edition of their magazine Speak Out, you will find the inspirational story of James who explains that because he didn’t talk to anyone at work about his problems, “… They could only judge me as if I was ‘normal’ and assume I was unreliable and not good at my job”.  As an HR Director, he maintains he wouldn’t have opened up if it hadn’t been for the Time to Change Organisational Pledge.

Training your workforce to be aware of the most common mental health conditions, can not only help those experiencing mental ill health to seek advice earlier but also help the whole team to be more understanding and inclusive – the end result of which can be increased productivity and an improved workplace culture.

Dame Carol Black, adviser on work and health at the Department of Health, has stated that “The return on the balance sheet by investing in workplace health is, over a five-year period, normally at least double and sometimes triple the amount spent.”

Providing Mental Health Awareness Training for all Employees can help:

  1. Employees spot a colleague who may be experiencing mental ill health when a manager may not have observed, or overlooked their current situation.  This may be because team members work more closely and notice changes on a day to day basis, or that the team has a manager who is technically able but less so at people skills.
  2. To make employees aware of the most common mental health conditions.  This may help them to be more understanding of a colleague experiencing such a condition.  Awareness can help turn any resentment and disharmony into support for the individual and a close knit team.
  3. To encourage employees to talk about a problem at an earlier stage if they feel they work in an inclusive, supportive environment, and don’t live in fear of losing their job by confiding in their manager.  This can result in huge benefits for both the individual and the organisation.


Comments received from employers who have run this training include:

“This course really helped our HR team to have a better understanding of Mental Health conditions and how to manage and support employees who may have a mental ill health condition in the workplace. We were able to put some of the suggested supporting strategies in place very quickly and found the course to be very practical and informative.”
Angela Hamilton, Head of HR Teams, Historic Scotland

The course programme gave us a very useful guide to dealing with people who present with a wide range of mental health symptoms. The trainer was knowledgeable and engaged very well with the issues raised by delegates, who found her helpful and pragmatic.
Tony Tidey, Wellbeing Adviser, Methodist Church

…it helped not only to help ourselves but to be aware of others who may need support…
Angela Stanton-Greenwood, Workforce Development Manager, Hesley Group