Managing Mental Health in the Workplace
Rebecca Morris
May 14, 2024
Managing Mental Health in the Workplace
Rebecca Morris
May 14, 2024

13th – 19th May is Mental Health Awareness Week so we felt it was timely to create our latest blog around mental health in the workplace.

Mental health is no longer a taboo within the workplace with many UK workers experiencing common mental health problems including anxiety and depression. As an employer, it is vital mental health is firmly on your radar so you are fully equipped to help employees with conditions that can be crippling. Understanding how you can offer support and ensure the wellness of your team is key.

While health and wellness in the workplace are firmly on the agenda, such as group exercise classes, yoga, and duvet days, the more sensitive areas of wellness such as personality disorders or acute anxiety can be more of a taboo. They must be talked about to ensure the safety of individuals.

Taking time to understand the issues surrounding mental health will help employers support their workforce with a positive and proactive approach. Whilst we are not mental health specialists, we are experienced Recruiters and can shed light on how companies can help their staff manage mental health within the workplace. An open and engaging employer can mean people are more comfortable managing their conditions in the workplace and it does not hinder their working performance.

The Taboo

Sadly, there is a costly taboo around mental health which is both damaging for the individual and the business – the facts themselves are disturbing reading;

  • 51% of long-term sicknesses are due to stress, depression, and anxiety
  • 1 in 5 UK workers are unable to manage stress and pressure within the workplace
  • 10% of employees are seeking support for their mental health
  • 9% of professionals are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • A third of managers feel out of their depth supporting their team with mental health concerns

*source MHFAEngland

So how do we tackle these statistics and bust the taboo surrounding mental health in the workplace.

We are delighted to share below a selection of our tips;

Open Mindset

People are often reluctant to talk about conditions because for some it is difficult to broach. People feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work and many prefer to hide or ignore problems that are affecting their mental wellbeing. If you can demonstrate to employees that wellness is at the forefront of your company’s values and culture this will act as reassurance; and if there is an issue for individuals, if you are actively seen as having a supportive structure people will feel more comfortable to open up.

Regular One-to-Ones

By hosting regular one-to-ones with your team members, you are creating a natural forum for them to air personal issues. Having a clear line manager will also ensure that there is an obvious route for them to take any of their concerns and feel it is being handled efficiently.

Off-site Meetings

Hosting one-to-one meetings away from the gaze of other team members can be hugely beneficial for someone suffering from anxiety and depression. A different environment gives people the opportunity to talk more freely and feel less constrained by a work environment. This could be a valuable outlet for especially anxious individuals.


Understand the individual’s needs and where you can offer flexibility that may support them and also allow them to get the job done. It may be as simple as a day a week at home or one later start to accommodate therapy. This works to ease the stress and the enormity of an office environment.

Team Away Days

Unifying your team is important and regular investment in taking them for an away day each quarter helps to cement team spirit. This culture can help create firm friendships, so if someone is suffering from mental health issues and doesn’t feel comfortable going directly to management they can approach a colleague for support.

A Mentally Healthier Workplace

We advise taking small, simple steps to create a workplace that is ‘mentally healthier’. Increasing wellness across the team means encouraging them to look after themselves whilst getting the job done in a happy healthy working environment.

  • Reclaim lunch breaks – if your team isn’t taking lunch breaks you have to ask yourself is this healthy? Encouraging them to even take ten minutes away from their desk is vital as it is important to break state.
  • Walking meetings – if weather allows take time out for a walking meeting. Breaking out of the office for some fresh air can be a great mental boost.
  • Hold a group activity – whether it’s a chat over a coffee, a walk to the sandwich shop, or something more exciting like a craft session or quiz, it’s nice for a team to do something out of the ordinary to break up the routine.
  • Mindful exercise – offer joint exercise opportunities for your team – we’re not talking hard core weights but therapeutic sessions such as Pilates or Yoga. This is great for team bonding and adds value to an individual’s mental health.
  • Home and work boundaries – creating specific times for fun in the workplace helps people to clearly distinguish leisure time and outside of these times focus on the job at hand