Mental health: eight ways to support staff

In this article: Mental health and depression problems affect a quarter of the UK population. Here, we highlight the simple ways you could help someone in the workplace get through these difficult periods

Depression can affect anyone at any age and from any background, but with the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage the symptoms and make a full recovery.

Mental health issues affect up to a quarter of the population, and given its prevalence employers in the automotive industry will at some point find themselves in a situation where an employee or colleague is struggling.

Knowing how you can help could be incredibly important and make a real difference, read our eight point guide to how you can help someone when they most need it...

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk. Make time for them. Make it clear that they have done nothing wrong, and informally sit down and ask how they are. It’s useful to mention that you or other colleagues have noticed a change in their demeanour or behaviour, but be prepared to elaborate on this and provide examples.
  2. It doesn’t need to be a taboo subject. If any employee does open up to you about how they are feeling and that they are struggling with their mental health, treat this is in the same way as you would someone who tells you they have a physical health problem. Ask them how they’re feeling, what changes have they noticed, and if they’ve reached out for support elsewhere.
  3. Listening is key. Summarising and paraphrasing can demonstrate to the individual that you have heard them and you are listening, but don’t overdo it. You also don’t need to have all the answers. It can be useful to focus your conversations on what support would help in the workplace – for example, reduced hours, targets, or taking some time away.
  4. If they open up about a mental health issue. Arrange regular catch-ups so you can review the support you provide in the workplace. Ben has a free and confidential helpline and online chat for further support and advice with their mental health.
  5. A culture of support. Create a culture where employees feel comfortable about seeking support. Letting your employees know where they can turn if they are struggling with life’s challenges, including their mental health, is important as part of being a supportive employer.
  6. Raise awareness and engagement with Ben. Ben can work with your employees to support their health and wellbeing. Spread the word about Ben in your company, use our tips, advice and tools for total health and wellbeing, it’s advice that can be sent straight to an email inbox, by signing up on our website.
  7. Provide training for managers. Mental health is a complex and diverse subject making it complex, difficult and challenging to address. Training can equip managers with the knowledge, skills and tools to confidently navigate mental health challenges within the workplace and effectively manage and support employees.
  8. Promote positive wellbeing. Try to embed wellbeing into day-to-day practices, including: work life balance, work culture, promoting company benefits and supporting positive lifestyle changes and healthy living.

Rachel Clift is health and wellbeing director at Ben, an independent charity that provides support for life for automotive people and their family dependants. You can receive tips and techniques to support employees with mental health issues.

To find out more about how Ben supports professionals in the automotive sector, text 07781 472622; or call 01344 876 770.