Importance of investing in employee mental health

With a new year comes a new set of exciting opportunities, as well as challenges for every business - meeting set targets and goals, as well as improving organisational strategy and productivity. However, the mental wellbeing of employees and workforces shouldn't be left to the wayside.

There is still a great deal of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental health issues in the workplace. Many people are uncertain about how to recognise a mental illness and how to respond when faced with it. This might result in unwittingly stigmatising behaviours and attitudes, meaning that those in need of mental health help and support do not receive it or may even find the workplace exacerbates their symptoms. 

Employers and business leaders who are open and have a willingness to talk about mental health with their employees is exactly the kind of support that so many people want and need at the start of the year. 

Here are some reasons why mental health training should be at the top of the agenda for every business this year:

It raises awareness of mental illnesses

When employers implement mental health training, they normalise meaningful conversations around the most common mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Often, mental health is seen as ‘invisible’, but organisations have the power to transform how we show up for our colleagues, so no one must suffer in silence. When people feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others, they’re less likely to become disengaged or withdraw.   

It encourages early intervention to aid recovery

Taking steps to prevent poor mental health from developing is more effective than waiting until people become ill. In troubling times where an employee needs additional support, employers must be equipped with the right skills to recognise the early warning signs and be confident enough to encourage professional help where necessary. By becoming more informed and aware, employees and managers can spot the signs sooner rather than later. This reduces the likelihood of mild symptoms becoming more severe and can make recovery easier. 

It increases confidence in dealing with mental illnesses 

From research we conducted in 2021, we found that 39% of employees aged between 18 and 29 are most likely to leave their job and move to an employer that provides better mental health support. If managers can have confident conversations about mental health without feeling like they may overstep their boundaries, they can reduce the risk of presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover. Finding that line between offering support and offering solutions can be more straightforward with training.

It reduces stigma around mental health issues

Someone with poor mental health may not realise it, making it harder for managers to address. Even if they do realise they have an issue with their mental health, they may be reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. For an employee experiencing a mental health issue, your organisation’s informed and supportive response is likely to lead to a much more beneficial outcome. 

Small workplace changes to support employees

Sometimes it’s the small things that make the greatest difference. Here are some ideas for how you can implement small workplace changes to support employees and promote good mental health.

Tea & Chat

Set up a weekly tea and chat meeting for teams and departments to attend outside of their usual break times. Go outside or do it remotely, whatever works best for your employees. Grab some biscuits, a cup of something warm, and talk about something neutral. 

Conversation starters:

  • Talk about their hobbies
  • Talk about their weekend or after work plans 
  • Ask what made them smile today
  • Talk about any new books, films or TV series.
  • Their favourite foods and recipes 

Mental Health First Aider

Enrol one person (or multiple people if you have a big team) to become your Mental Health First Aider. All businesses have first aiders who you can go to in case of a physical medical issue, but many don’t have a Mental Health First Aider who people can talk to and confide in. By providing peer-to-peer network support within your organisation, you are creating an environment in which the individual may feel more comfortable to discuss any issues they may be having at work.

Why do managers need mental health training?

Training helps everyone from employers to executive leaders learn the tools for providing a mentally fit workplace that is good for business. There is an opportunity to learn about early identification principles, bolstered with CBT evidence-based interventions to support employees. This will help to remove taboos surrounding mental health, vital to early detection and future-proofing employee mental wellbeing. 

Startup Details

Startup Details



Onebright is a mental healthcare company that provides support and treatment.

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    York, UK
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