Work-related stress and burnout are currently costing the UK economy £28bn a year, according to data and economic modelling from AXA UK and Centre for Business and Economic Research. Improving workplace mental health training to help prevent mental health conditions and support those with them could save businesses billions of pounds in employee absence and loss of productivity.

What are the benefits? 

Mental health training for employees helps managers learn the tools for providing a mentally fit workplace that is good for business. Training could include:

  • How to use early identification principles
  • How to remove stigma around mental health in the workplace
  • Spotting the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues
  • Providing non-judgemental support and reassurance
  • Guiding a person to seek professional support

Is mental health training for employees a legal requirement in the UK?

Mental health training in the workplace is a recommendation, not legislation. However, NICE and Public Health England have released a guideline on Mental Wellbeing at Work that covers how to create the right conditions to support mental wellbeing at work through an environment and culture of participation, equality, safety and fairness in the workplace, based on open communication.

Sarah Carter, Head of Account Management, Onebright, provides five essential reasons to invest in mental health training for managers and senior leaders. 

  1. It raises awareness of mental health conditions 

When employers implement mental health training, they normalise meaningful conversations around the most common mental health illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Often, mental health is seen as ‘invisible’, but organisations have the power to transform how we show up for our colleagues, so no one has to suffer in silence. When people feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others, they’re less likely to become disengaged or withdraw.

  1. Encourages early intervention to aid recovery 

Preventing poor mental health from developing is more effective than waiting until people become ill. In troubling times when an employee needs additional support, employers must be equipped with the right skills to recognise the early warning signs and be confident enough to encourage professional help where necessary. By becoming more informed and aware, employees and managers can spot the signs sooner rather than later.

  1. Increases confidence in dealing with mental health conditions

If managers and leaders can have confident conversations about mental health without feeling like they may overstep their boundaries, they can reduce the risk of presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover. Finding that line between offering support and offering solutions is more straightforward with training.

  1. Increased productivity

In the age of presenteeism, many employees will try to work through a period of illness – but their productivity and quality of work will suffer. Often people will not know that they are experiencing symptoms of a specific mental health problem – instead, they might think they’re simply going through a ‘rough patch’ or see chronic stress in the workplace as a part of the job.

By partnering with a mental health training provider, employers can reduce the number of days lost to sickness and reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by individual employees who are hiding their mental health problems due to the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.

  1. Motivation towards development and performance improvement

Employees who are happy and not stressed or anxious at work will be motivated towards professional development. They will find it easier to concentrate on complex tasks and will be more inclined to collaborate with colleagues. This will affect their current performance and future success in their job.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.