The Surprising Impact of Mental Health Training for Managers

Employee wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, mental health has become a critical concern for both employees and employers. The pressures of modern-day life combined with a lack of spare capacity and mindset lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, which, if left unaddressed, can result in high employee turnover rates and increased absenteeism. However, companies are discovering that investing in Mental Health Training for Managers can be a game-changer for fostering a healthier work environment and ultimately reducing these issues.

In this article, we will explore the far-reaching impact that Mental Health Training for Managers has, which may surprise you!

Destigmatising Mental Health in the Workplace

One of the primary benefits of Mental Health Training for Managers is its role in destigmatising mental health issues in the workplace. Historically, there has been a stigma associated with discussing mental health problems at work, which often prevents employees from seeking help. While the stigma is slowly changing, people still feel a sense of shame, weakness or inadequacy for having mental ill health. Mental Health Training for managers works to change this by helping managers understand the neuroscience behind mental ill health and showing managers how to create psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns. Managers play a crucial role in setting the tone for this cultural shift.

Managers are often seen as role models within the organisation. When managers openly prioritise mental health and engage in conversations about well-being, it sends a powerful message to their teams. Mental Health Training for managers equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to lead by example. They learn how to communicate effectively about mental health, creating an environment where employees feel supported and encouraged to seek help when needed.

Identifying and Addressing Mental Health Issues Early

Mental Health Training for managers not only helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental health but also equips managers with the skills to identify potential mental health concerns in their teams. Through training, managers learn to recognise signs of stress, anxiety, or depression in their employees, allowing them to intervene and offer support before these issues escalate. Early intervention not only benefits the affected individuals but also prevents these problems from negatively impacting the team’s dynamics and the risk of employees being signed off from work for any length of time.

Mental health for managers training

From our observations, those in senior management and leadership roles feel a greater sense of pressure to keep performing, despite what they are experiencing. During our training, they have shared a reluctance to speak out about their challenges with mental ill health for fear of the impact on them, or any judgement. Having delivered mental health training to hundreds of managers, we feel the training can act like a lifeline to some managers who are struggling.

Many of the managers have reached out to us privately and received one-to-one help for burnout, stress, overwhelm, health anxiety, trauma and even a fear of public speaking. This one-to-one support has helped individual managers overcome their mental health challenges, prevented the issues from escalating further and minimised the risk of them resigning.

One of the biggest fears expressed by managers about addressing mental health within their teams is the fear of getting things wrong or making the situation worse. As we highlight to managers, if a team member is already struggling with their mental health, there is little that they can say or do that will make the situation worse. Especially if they have a connection with the individual during the conversation.

Managers who undergo Mental Health Training gain insights into how to approach conversations about mental health, how to create a sense of connection at a deeper level and how to create psychological safety. They learn to ask open-ended questions, signpost internal mental health resources, and offer a listening ear. This training isn’t about training managers to be therapists or to resolve the issues for the employees, that’s our area of expertise!. One of the points we raise during our mental health for managers training is boundaries and clarity of the role a manager plays. Managers do have a responsibility to address mental ill health within their team but are not responsible for resolving what’s happening with an employee at a mental level.

This proactive approach can make a significant difference in the well-being of employees. As Maya Angelou famously said ‘People will forget what you said, will forget what you do, but will never forget how you make them feel’.

Managers who take a vested interest in their team members, invite employees to be vulnerable and demonstrate empathy foster a culture of psychological safety and contribute to a more resilient and mentally healthy workforce.

Boosting Employee Morale and Engagement

Companies that invest in Mental Health Training for managers demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ well-being, which can significantly boost employee morale, engagement and psychological safety. When employees feel valued and supported in their mental health journeys, they are more likely to develop a strong sense of loyalty towards their employer. This commitment can result in increased employee retention rates, reducing the need for costly recruitment and training of new hires. Moreover, a loyal workforce tends to be more engaged and motivated, leading to improved productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Managers who are well-versed in Mental Health Training act as a bridge between employees and the organisation. They can convey the company’s commitment to mental health, ensure that policies and practices align with this commitment, and provide the necessary resources for employees to thrive. By actively participating in mental health initiatives, managers set a precedent that encourages employees to prioritise their well-being.

Enhancing Managers Skills

Mental Health Training for managers offers managers valuable skills that extend beyond the workplace. Managers who have been through our mental health for managers training often report enhanced communication skills within their personal lives.

“Asking the right questions allows people to self-diagnose!  Have already put into practice with colleagues, and even with partners and got amazing results”Manager, Sofology

We invite managers to reflect on what kind of personal impact they would like to have on their teams. The truth is, managers leaders and employees at all levels are always having an impact on one another, the reflection we invite is what kind of impact managers want to have.

DALL·E 2024 01 09 10.37.52 A close up view of a Zoom meeting focusing on a personal mental health discussion. The manager a Black female appears in a large window her express

In the absence of this self-awareness, managers will continue to do what makes sense to them! In helping managers to be present when addressing mental health conversations (or any conversation!), they naturally lead from their true nature, something which is often missing in leadership training.

Managers have reported having more effective client meetings, account meetings and even sales conversations as a result of the skills they have learned and are putting into place. They describe how in these meetings they were able to listen more deeply to what customers and clients were asking for and use solution-focused coaching questions with great results. One manager laughed and told us we had saved his marriage because he’d finally learnt to listen to his wife! This demonstrates that mental health for managers training has the potential to deliver an incredible return on investment which stretches beyond reducing absence and turnover.

“I’ve had conversations with people, and I’ve spoken differently with them and afterwards I’ve recognised I’ve spoken differently – a subconscious change in myself that I’d never spoken like that before”.Manager, Sofology

Reducing Absenteeism in the Workplace

High levels of stress, anxiety, burnout, addiction and depression can lead to increased absenteeism, as employees can no longer cope at work. The impact of key roles within an organisation taking time off can have significant consequences.

A Commercial Manager for one of the major UK banks needed to take 3 months off from work due to anxiety. Despite having access to private medical cover, she was on a waiting list and wanted more than talking therapy to help her overcome anxiety and reached out to us. We are happy to report she is now back at work and doing well.

What was apparent was how long she had been struggling before getting signed off work by her G.P. In cases like this, it’s highly likely that an employee does need help, and possibly some time off work. However, if a conversation had been initiated sooner by her manager, the impact of the amount of time she needed off from her role could have been mitigated.

As managers become more knowledgeable, skilled and confident in proactively managing stress and anxiety, absenteeism rates are likely to decrease, leading to improved attendance and overall productivity.

Managers play a critical role in absenteeism reduction by fostering a culture that encourages employees to proactively address their mental health. They can create flexible work arrangements, allow for time for employees to get help with their mental health, put in place reasonable work accommodations, and promote a work-life balance that minimises burnout. When managers prioritise mental health, employees feel more comfortable discussing their needs and seeking support.

The Return on Investment of Mental Health Training for Managers

Mental Health Training for managers is a proactive approach that can have a profound impact on managers, employees, and the organisation as a whole.

Reducing absence and turnover is only a small part of a much bigger picture.

Management’s active involvement in Mental Health Training is crucial in shaping the organisation’s culture and ensuring the success of a mental health strategy, or mental health initiatives.

By destigmatising mental health, identifying issues early, developing self-awareness in managers of their personal impact and developing valuable communication companies can create a positive work environment that benefits both employees and employers. Investing in Mental Health Training for managers is not only a wise business decision but also a compassionate and responsible way to support the mental health and well-being of the workforce. Managers who champion mental health become key drivers in creating a workplace where everyone can thrive.

Interested to find out more about our mental health for managers training? Contact us today.

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