The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title of ‘Blue Monday’ due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, dark winter nights, debts from festive season excesses and the pressure of maintaining New Year’s resolutions.

Mental health in the workplace

‘Blue Monday’ provides an opportunity for employers to explore mental health in the workplace. Poor mental health affects many employees. Employers should consider how they can respond to and support those employees suffering from mental health problems.

What can employers do?

Employers can implement a number of initiatives to manage anxiety and depression at work and improve their employees’ wellbeing:

  1. Create the right culture - Promoting workplace health and wellbeing will create an open and supportive culture which will encourage employees to seek support and professional help.
  2. Talk about mental health - Talking about mental health removes the stigma attached to people who suffer from mental health problems. Engaging with external mental health organisations to raise employee awareness will help to promote a healthy approach in the workplace.
  3. Promote the support available - Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) support employees in the workplace and improve health and wellbeing at work. Invite the EAP service provider to come into the workplace to discuss with employees the confidential counselling and professional advice available.
  4. Train managers to deal with mental health problems - Managers play an important role in promoting positive mental health in the workplace. Training will help managers to recognise and sensitively deal with mental health problems. Managers should be trained to take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their team members.
  5. Check-in with employees - Team meetings are an opportune time for managers to check in with their team members. Managers should ask how their team members are and listen to their responses before dealing with the business matters at hand. Team members will in turn feel supported by management.

‘Blue Monday’ may affect any of us but employers can make it easier by implementing the above initiatives. Promoting both physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace increases positivity and productivity.