Employee mental health has never been more important, and with new challenges such as political uncertainty, the cost of living crisis and the impact the Queen’s death has had on so many, the need for workplace support continues. growing up.
Most organizations have some form of mental health support services in place, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), but are they fit for purpose, do they really have something to offer to every employee struggling with their mental health?
To be truly beneficial, services must be versatile
One-dimensional or multi-faceted?
Many mental health support services can be very one-dimensional, such as providing access to a brief counseling course. While this can be very beneficial for many, those with more complex, long-term issues often find themselves with nothing.
The term “mental illness” covers a wide range of conditions and severities, ranging from mild anxiety or depression to complex disorders and addictions. Therefore, to be truly beneficial, services must be multi-faceted, which means:
Does the service offer more than one option? Does it provide access to a professional, such as a mental health nurse, who can assess what would be most beneficial for each individual and direct them to the most appropriate path?
2. Holistic approach
Does the service treat physical and mental problems together? Mental illness does not exist in a vacuum, to be fully effective all aspects must be addressed simultaneously. Physical issues such as poor health, poor diet, lack of sleep, and lifestyle habits have a detrimental effect on mental well-being and motivation. By addressing these factors, a stronger foundation can be created on which to build improved mental well-being.
3. Long term solutions
Is the service time limited? Poor mental health can often last quite a long time, and sustaining recovery is certainly a long-term endeavor. Good quality services are flexible to meet the changing needs of individuals over time, at their own pace, with the ultimate goal of being able to self-manage their mental well-being. Time-limited services risk leaving people dry when they need help the most and back to square one.
With so many aspects of poor mental health, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in terms of therapies
4. Human interaction
When the chips are down, people generally find great benefit in talking to other people. There are now many digital mental wellness solutions, which offer great tools, but those who are really sick are often unable to engage.
5. Specialized services
With so many aspects of poor mental health, there is no single solution in terms of therapies. Many services simply offer a set number of counseling or CBT sessions, but this isn’t always the most beneficial option. While talking therapies are often the most appropriate, other therapies such as complementary therapies, hands-on home help, or a second medical opinion may be more beneficial for some, depending on the cause. Having a professional who can listen to any issues, identify the most beneficial help, and find an appropriate provider can make a huge difference in turning the corner towards healing.
6. Exclusions from your mental health offers
Are specific mental health conditions excluded from current offerings? Some mental health support services exclude many complex or long-term mental health issues, and although some people may need more extensive therapy – which may be available in other areas such as health care private – many more will have to use the NHS. It is equally important that while they are waiting, they have specialist support in the meantime. And if they use the NHS, they have help navigating through it so they can get the most appropriate help for them and receive help until that help is available.
It is very positive that mental health support is becoming widespread, but it is essential that it is good quality support
Quality is the key to mental health support
It is very positive that mental health support is becoming widespread, but it is essential that it is good quality support. In practice, we believe it should be multidimensional: comprehensive, long-term holistic, accessible to all, with a wide range of specialist services – all facilitated by professional human beings.
Before mental health support is implemented, we urge all employers to be clear on the details, otherwise they may find that what they are offering is insufficient.
Interested in this topic? Read Mental Health: The Importance of Person-Directed Support for Serious Illness.
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