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Mental Health and the Indie Employer

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness for the Indie Employer

It’s Mental Health Awareness Day (10th October 2017) and we’re bringing you some concerning statistics about mental health in the workplace.

The Institute of Leadership and Management recently released ‘Mind Culture,’ a report on how mental health is handled by managers. It also includes some practical solutions on how workplaces can move forward and take action to improve their levels of support.

The report found a huge lack of mental health awareness training within organisations, with SMEs being the least well-prepared. 45% of respondents said SMEs with 10-49 employees didn’t support mental health problems very well, while 42% said support from slightly larger SMEs was also low.

Worryingly, the report suggests that 66% of male and 69% of female managers receive no mental health awareness training. This is a staggering figure. When it comes to business owners who employ any number of staff, there is a legal and moral responsibility to care for those employees - to assess risks and to ensure welfare. With 11.5% of sick days taken in the UK being attributed to mental health issues, it’s evident this does not happen often enough.

What can you do?

The ILM report acknowledged that it was time we stop talking about the importance of mental health at work and to start acting. ‘Mind Culture’ made several recommendations for employers, managers and organisations:

  • Actively listen to staff and colleagues to build trust and dispel stigma
  • Invest in basic mental health literacy so all employees can spot the signs when they need help.
  • Engage in critical self –reflection and consider own impact on an employee’s mental illness.
  • Offer more than time off work; support with workload and mentoring are preferable alternatives.
  • Treat the illness as a ‘mutual situation’ in which the organisation, via the appropriate managers, and the member of staff affected need to collaborate to find the best long term solution. (Above recommendations ©ILM)

Unfortunately, mental health training is not yet mandatory across the board, but that doesn’t mean indie workers and employers shouldn’t enroll on a basic mental health awareness course. Indycube Community Members Steps Training offer courses on Mental Health Awareness, as well as on Mental Health Awareness in Children and Young People.

Don’t let your employees become part of the 51% who confided in their line manager and received no support in return.


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