Mental Health in the Workplace

News item posted: 10 October 2017

By Andy Ambler, Regional Clinical Operations Manager, Mental Health

For more information on Turning Point’s Talking Therapies services, visit: https://talking.turning-point.co.uk/

Mental health is the bedrock upon which health and social care organisations deliver services to people who desperately need them. Without the compassion, dedication and care of the people who work in our services, we would not be able to support those who most need it in our society.

There are a plethora of leadership books and courses which preach that the most important asset an organisation has is its workforce; this is possibly never more so true in mental health services. We often take for granted the burden carried by the people who work in mental health services and sometimes underestimate their resilience.

In recent decades mental health services have undergone a revolution with recovery coming to the forefront. Services have adapted to recognise each individual, what their hopes, goals and ambitions are so as to ensure that people who receive support can recover and live a meaningful life. In essence, ‘recovery’ has become the buzz word of 21st century mental health services, and rightly so.

   mentalhealthstock

While the recovery revolution has changed the way in which we view mental health and support those in our services, we are yet to see a revolution in the way in which we support the people who work in them. Mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace remains a daily struggle for many. Mental ill-health continues to be viewed as a weakness or deficit. A number of organisations now allocate vast resources to supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff so as to prevent mental ill-health, yet more needs to be done to support those who experience it.

Recovery-Centred Leadership is founded upon three core components: Hope, Opportunities and Choice. These components are not new concepts within the recovery literature, with hope, opportunity and control being three ingredients identified by Repper & Perkins in 2003 as key to enabling people to recover from mental ill-health.

Leading with hope goes beyond an abundance of optimism, and requires leaders to communicate in an authentic and constructive way. This in turn helps create an open atmosphere where challenge and praise received positively in absence of perceived hidden agendas. Hope is infectious – if we can create environments where the people who work in our services are hopeful, they will create environments where they provide support to others which are hopeful. Often those who experience mental ill-health in our workforces lack hope for the future and can feel their aspirations are unattainable.

If hopes are aspirations, then opportunities can help change them into realities. Opportunities do not need to be limited to financial or performance rewards but go much further into providing people options either through flexible working arrangements which enable people to work, live and parent well, or through development opportunities starting with on-the-job mentoring through to further education. Opportunities presented to those who have hope lead to inspired workers who in turn can inspire others.

By creating environments where people feel empowered through hope and opportunities, we can encourage people to make positive choices. One of the most destructive situations a worker can find themselves in is to feel that they have no choices. By providing opportunities and hope within the workplace we can create choices, supporting those who want to stay in an organisation and are dedicated to seeing it grow to deliver the best outcomes possible, while also enabling those who wish to move to on to do so at a time that is best for them and the organisation. Having choices helps to inspire hope and therefore helps to generate new opportunities.

By leading in a recovery-centred way we have a means by which those in our workforce who experience mental ill-health feel empowered and supported.

For more information on Turning Point’s Talking Therapies services, visit: https://talking.turning-point.co.uk/