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Line Managers – Mental health and getting it right

On World Mental Health Day in October we looked at the importance of having an open positive workplace where staff feel willing and able to discuss their own mental health and ask for help.

We now want to look at the role Line Managers play in your business.  Leadership and management are key to promoting good mental health at work, but what it can be easily forgotten that out of the 1 in 6 people who experience mental health problems in the UK, your Line Manager could be one of those experiencing their own mental health concerns.  There’s then also an expectation that they guide and support their team through their mental health problems.Mental Health

It’s therefore crucial to ensure your Line Managers are trained and skilled at being able support their team but also know when and how to ask for help themselves.

You want your Line Managers to be aware of clues about mental health (whether that be their own or that of a member of their team), which could include:

  • Changes in behaviour or mood or interaction with colleagues;
  • Changes in work output, motivation levels and focus;
  • Struggling to make decisions, get organised and find solutions to problems;
  • Appearing tired, anxious or withdrawn and losing interest in activities and tasks that were previously enjoyed;
  • Changes in eating habits, appetite and increased smoking and drinking.

So, how can you help your Line Managers who in turn will help your employees?

Difficult conversations

Ensure they have adequate training and feel comfortable having difficult conversations with their team.  These conversations don’t have to relate to just conduct or performance, but those skills need to include health and wellbeing questions and the ability to introduce conversations relating to changes in their behaviour.

Return to work interviews

A vital part in monitoring everyone’s wellbeing and health is a return to work interview.  Line Managers who use these opportunities to talk to staff and ask them relevant questions will be able to gain an insight into what might be troubling members of their team and intervene early enough to stop a problem snowballing into a bigger issue, which can lead to less absences and a more engaged workforce who are more productive.

Support your Line Managers

It’s key to ensure your Line Managers are supported and have regular meetings themselves.  These meetings should be an opportunity for them to update you on how their team is doing, but also a chance for you to check in with them and ensure they are doing ok.

As a Company you can actively promote healthy life styles to support all employees.  You could have challenge days where teams have to walk 10,000 steps the fastest, you can have email-free days to encourage face to face conversations, support a local charity in some way or even just have a baking competition!

Happy engaged staff, including Line Managers, are more likely to open up about their own mental health and have less fear of judgement as they know the Company will support them.

If you need help or training for your line mangers for those difficult conversations or return to work training please get in touch on 01487 815720 or email [email protected]

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