An exciting and important step forward in workplace mental health with the World Health Organisation’s new guidelines. These guidelines promote an integrated and systemic approach to mental health at work with 3 levels of intervention; Prevent, protect and promote, and support. Its great to see the strong focus on the need to take a systemic approach through taking action at both the employee and employer level, with psychosocial risk management as a key strategy for organisations – something that has been a core part of the psychological research into workplace stress for decades now.
What does this mean for organisations?
If you’re looking to implement a workplace mental health initiative, the guidelines suggest;
- Investing in a programme that provides data insight into the root causes of stress and poor mental health so that these can be addressed or mitigated. Its much better (and more cost effective) to protect people from psychological harm in the first place than dealing with the consequences and providing reactive support
- Involve employees in action planning and implementation around how to create healthier workplaces e.g. get them involved in designing team protocols, role design, goal setting
- Provide individuals with the awareness and skills to manage stress and promote positive mental health using a psychological, behavioural or social approach. For example, a credible tool to help them recognise the need to take action, unhealthy habits or thinking styles and help them pinpoint practical steps for improvement.
- Interventions can include activities directed at teams, recognising the diverse nature of challenges faced and need for a localised approach
- Managers should be trained in how to support their employees’ mental health, developing the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to do so effectively
You can download the joint WHO/ILO policy brief here.
The full guidelines are available here.
Get in touch for a chat to understand how to implement a practical and impactful programme in your organisation.