• Blog
  • February 2, 2023

Time to Talk: Talking About Mental Health at Work

Today is Time to Talk Day, there is no better day of the year to start a conversation about mental health at work.

Just as we look after our bodies, it’s also important we look after our minds. One in four of us experience mental health issues each year — so it’s vital that organisations work towards removing any stigma associated with these issues to help their employees live a healthy and happy life.

While there is not one set way to talk about mental health, these are our tips on how to start the conversation!

Time to Talk Day

Time to Talk Day run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op, was created to encourage friends, families, communities and workplaces to start a conversation about mental health.

By opening up conversations about mental health, we can help care for ourselves and those around us. Time to Talk Day gives a point of focus to the nation, creating a supportive community for everyone to talk openly about their own mental health issues and be empowered to seek help.

From planning a community event, hosting a coffee morning in the office or just checking in with a friend, it’s really easy to take part in Time to Talk Day. There’s some ideas and inspiration here.

Of course, while days like this are a great help, it’s important to have a fully considered approach to mental health — especially in the workplace.

Transform Workplace Conversations

Time to Talk Day is the perfect time for organisations to take a holistic look at their employee mental health offering and how they can further adapt to help their staff deal with mental health issues.

Talking about mental health is important all year round, and Time to Talk Day can be a catalyst for that — encouraging employees to speak out about any concerns and seek help internally or externally.

Employers and management can help with this by creating a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

This could be as simple as regular non-work-related check-ins between employees and their managers, focused purely on wellbeing. Or a dedicated hour each week for staff to take a break and have some time for themselves. How about monthly pizza parties to lift staff morale and encourage more interaction and communication? This can be especially beneficial if the office is still hybrid or remote working.

The best way to find out what would work for your employees is to use an employee engagement tool like Trickle, where staff can anonymously raise issues, share ideas and work on outcomes, together.

Talk with Trickle

To ensure your employees feel safe, accepted, and respected, it’s fundamental to create a psychologically safe workplace environment where people feel at ease to speak up and be heard. It’s the first step at making sure staff are comfortable enough to highlight problems — whether they are workplace or personal issues.

Not only can Trickle help staff share ideas about the mental health initiatives that would suit them best, it also has a number of other features that can help encourage conversations in the workplace.

  • Inclusivity – It can be hard for employees to speak up. That’s why Trickle allows people to post anonymously, so they can raise concerns or reach out for support in a safe environment — helping them participate in conversations without fear.
  • MoodSense – This is a quick and easy way of taking a temperature check to gauge how your people feel about something at any moment in time.  Just ask a health and wellbeing-related question to your staff and wait for the interactions to come in. This gives you insights into what’s working well and areas that need more support. After the original post, everyone can see the results on their Activity Feed to promote inclusivity.
  • Flares – These are private posts that are sent between individuals, giving employees the opportunity to raise a more sensitive issue on a one-to-one basis with the option to remain anonymous. This feature allows people to reach out in a safe and confidential space that they may be unable to raise otherwise.
  • How was your day? – This feature lets people record if they’re having good or bad working days and the positive or negative contributors. Whilst ‘How was your day?” is completely anonymous, it allows leaders to understand general happiness levels across the organisation and identify what is contributing to positive wellbeing and where more support is required.a lightbulb
Talking Tips

There’s no ‘one way fits all’ when talking to someone about their mental health issues. Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague, here are some helpful tips you can use to approach the problem:

  • Listen, ask questions, reflect – If someone reaches out to you to talk about their mental health, your main priority is simply to listen. Being there for someone is the most important step for them to feel relaxed and able to open up. Asking questions also gives them a prompt to talk about how they’re feeling — just try to avoid coming across as leading or judgmental. Reflect on their responses and don’t jump to try and fix it.
  • Don’t be a fixer – Sometimes people just need to vent. Talking about mental health issues can be a big step in itself, and no quick fix is going to help. People go on a long journey to manage their problems and may have already tried different steps to help themselves. Unless they’re asking for advice, just listen and let them talk it through.
  • There’s a time and a place – It can be a bit scary to talk face-to-face. Sitting down and looking at each other is quite overwhelming, especially when talking about something so personal. Maybe try talking while you’re both doing something else, like catching up for a coffee, going for a walk or even talking side-by-side at a restaurant or bar.

It’s clear to see how beneficial it is to focus on mental health — both inside and out the workplace. If you or someone you know needs any help, remember to visit timetotalk.co.uk. And if you’re open to implementing an employee wellbeing tool, why not book a 30 minute demo with one of our friendly team?