202203 Hogan Lovells HW 13
April 14, 2022

Do managers need mental health training?

It’s important to make employees aware of learning mental health first aid at work, just as physical first aid is required. Things are thankfully heading in the direction of compulsory mental health education at work, but what about managers? Do the rules differ for them? Read on to find out more…

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By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.

What is a manager?

A manager holds the responsibility of supervising part of a business; they are typically in charge of a person or group of people. Employees are required to report to their manager for a variety of reasons, they can be both work/non-work related.

Is my mental health my manager’s responsibility?

It’s viewed that as managers are ‘in charge’ of their employees, then they should have some responsibility for their wellbeing. A healthy and happy workplace boosts the overall morale of employees and will therefore lead to higher productivity and a generally better quality of work produced.

As 1 in 4 adults will encounter mental health hurdles in their lifetime, it’s apparent that mental health in the workplace needs to be taken seriously. Managerial figures do have the responsibility of incorporating mental wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, along with encouraging employees to take part. Many people will find it difficult to return to the office on a part or even full-time basis after working remotely for the past two years. It’s important for managers to acknowledge this and think carefully about how they can make their employees feel comfortable with these changes.

Of course, employees do need to take some responsibility for their own mental health at work. It’s always beneficial to have your own knowledge on mental health, this enables you to recognise when your mental health has become compromised as well as your peers. It’s also important to receive additional support from your line manager / other members of staff of a higher authority.

To conclude, there needs to be a balance from both ends of the spectrum to ensure everybody is as happy as they can be at work. Collaboration is key!

Why should managers have specific mental health training?

According to Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), line managers should be provided with systematic support with mental health training and skills.

This training is vital in equipping managers with the tools and skills of helping to raise awareness of mental wellbeing among employees and help them if they confide in them. The PHE and nice found back in 2018 that only 30% of managers received mental health training at work! This is needed now more than ever due to the difficult few years everyone’s endured.

Managers should receive mental health training face-to-face or virtually. It’s hoped that an increase in mental wellbeing awareness at work will then reduce the stigma around speaking out on mental health. The aim is to encourage employees to feel that they can approach their managers more freely if they wish to speak about how they’re feeling. This will additionally give managers the confidence that they can spot signs that their employees may need their support, and therefore prevent employees from declining further. Managers will also set the path for peers to help each other out with their mental health. Employees might even feel inspired to become a mental health first aider!

Companies stepping-up.

As found by CIPD (channelling better work and working lives), well-known companies such as the Co-op joined forces with mental health charities such as Samaritans and partnered with John Lewis to support the mental health of retail workers (2019). It’s shocking that over 50% of a 2,000 people survey felt that they wouldn’t know how to recognise or help a distressed colleague.

Since the pandemic, the Co-op made it their mission to enhance the wellbeing of their staff. They implemented further facilities such as ‘Smart Health’ which enabled staff to access virtual GP services, take mental health risk assessments and choose from other mental health support services.

The Co-op carried on with their theme of mental wellness by introducing a weekly newsletter that was distributed to all 63,000 members of staff, offering self-care tips and advice on dealing with challenging times. They continue to send out resources like this. This is a great example of how organisations can take care of their staff’s mental wellbeing, across all levels of authority.

Book a Mental Health Training course with us.

We proudly offer Mental Health Training courses specifically for managers. If you manage a team and are interested in expanding your mental health knowledge, contact us today to find out more! We also offer mental health training courses for employees to learn how to help others at work and become experts on all things mental health. We look forward to working with you.

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