We spend a good chunk of our lives at work so it’s likely that many employees will be taking their worries to work, although in true British fashion, we hide it with a smile and resist talking about it.

Employers should look to create an open and non-judgemental workplace where employees feel comfortable enough to speak about their concerns, whether they are personal or professional.

Below, Bertrand Stern-Gillet, CEO of Health Assured, discusses the power of talking in supporting mental health, alongside expert advice on promoting positive workplace wellbeing.

Why is talking important?

There is a huge misconception around mental health conditions that has come with a huge lack of understanding in society. This can often be a blocker for people who want to talk about their concerns as they worry they will be judged or feel embarrassed to admit that they’re struggling.

It can feel at times as though you’re alone in your situation however speaking up will show you that many other people are feeling the same way. You’re not alone. And this serves as reassurance that things do get better, and time really does heal.

As leaders we are responsible for encouraging our employees to take healthier steps to promote happier wellbeing. Encouraging the team to open up about their mental health is a great way to do this.

How do we do this?

  1. Show you care.

The best attribute of any leader is their ability to care about those they manage. Not only does this foster a healthier working atmosphere but also has a significant impact on employee wellbeing.

Caring should always be extended past employee professional lives. Our personal lives can pose some of our biggest challenges, and the impact will be felt in the workplace.

Everyone should feel safe, supported, and valued in their line of work. When employees feel as though they are valued by their organisation are more likely to go the extra mile in everything they do – it’s a win win!

Even the happiest staff members can be struggling underneath the surface, this is why regular 1-2-1’s are so important.

  1. Keep it confidential.

Confidentiality is key in building trust within the team.

For someone to speak up and discuss how they are struggling takes a lot of courage, if this courage was betrayed by discussing their business with others this could have a significant impact on their mental health, which consequently will impact their productivity at work.

Betraying employee trust in this way is likely to prevent them from seeking help in the future.

However, if there is a concern that this person could be a danger to themselves or to those around him then confidentiality must be broken, and the relevant people must be informed of their condition and what dangers they may pose.

  1. Offer support.

Although talking for some can serve as therapy everyone deals with their own situation differently and this is where an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can come in handy.

EAP’s allow employers to provide catered advice to employees so they can deal with their issues in the way they find to be the most beneficial to them.

According to Psych Central 75% of people who have tried talk therapy with a trained professional have reaped the benefits and felt better for doing so.

By having a professional support system in place that is there to help employees all day and all night this makes employees feel better supported with access to professional advice.

  1. Offer reassurance.

The first step of coming forward for support can often be the biggest obstacle for many. However, this can be minimised with reassurance.

Without having an open and accepting atmosphere instilled into the ethos of the organisation the workplace will be deemed as a negative space by the team which will serve as a blocker when seeking a sounding board.

Regular training on being mindful about your wellbeing is key to fostering an open atmosphere as this reiterates to employees that the workplace serves as a safe place to discuss any issues as well as a workplace.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

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.