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7 Benefits of Mental Health Awareness Training for Employees

Many workplaces have recognised the importance of mental health training. These opportunities can make workers more aware of their own mental health and that of their colleagues.

Why Mental Health Awareness Training is Important

Mental health awareness encourages workers to look after their mental health and that of their colleagues and be proactive about it regularly. Employees can recognise the signs of poor mental health and take action to improve it.

In many workplaces, there is plenty of talk about mental health but not everyone fully understands what it means or how it can relate to themselves. Training can inform people of the signs of poor mental health and actionable steps to create a healthier mental space.

Benefits of Mental Health Training in the Workplace

There are several benefits to individuals and workplaces when mental health training is made available.

#1 Recognise Signs of Poor Mental Health

Part of creating a mentally safe workplace involves staff members recognising the signs that indicate poor or deteriorating mental health in themselves and their colleagues. Noting a shift in their colleague’s mood or behaviour is a positive initial step. Some signs indicating poor or deteriorating mental health include withdrawal from friends, sadness, anger, inability to cope, and confusion.

Workers can use this information to seek help or encourage a friend or family member to do so. The sooner a person gets professional help, the quicker they can embark on a recovery journey.  

#2 Show of Support From Colleagues

When workers undergo awareness training, they’re more likely to support a colleague. They can recognise the signs and ask their colleagues if they’re okay. Training can also prepare the person to respond with empathy and understanding regardless of their colleague’s responses. 

Some people don’t have close friends or family and rely on colleagues for their social network and support. Feeling supported, especially when dealing with mental health issues, can play a significant role on a personal and professional level. It will also act as reassurance knowing they have made the right choice when choosing where to work. Moreover, employees can feel more valued when their employer takes a genuine interest in their health.

#3 Provide Proactive Tools

Training can include tools for identifying stress and anxiety and techniques for dealing with it. Once staff members know how to relieve stress or anxiety, they can put it into practice during difficult times. When they are able to find some relief, they are more likely to continue at work with their routine, surrounded by supportive colleagues, rather than staying home on their own. The longer they stay away from work, the more anxious they can become about returning.  

During awareness training, there’s the opportunity to teach workers basic mindfulness skills that they can use when they’re feeling stressed or anxious. Research-based techniques can reduce stress levels, improve workers’ focus, and reduce the rate of burnout. Employees can then take these practices to encourage their partners, children, and others around them to try implementing them.

#4 Reduce the Stigma

The stigma around mental health occurs from ignorance, misinformation, and a lack of understanding of mental illness. Resistance to learning, lack of acceptance, and other negative attitudes can lead to discrimination against people suffering from mental illness.

Understanding improves when a significant number of staff members have had mental health awareness training. There is more talk, less taboo, and less stigma. Less stigma means workers are more likely to speak up and seek help when needed. The result is a safe working environment.

A safe working environment allows employees to release their anxiety and fear about possible discrimination if they reveal their mental health state. Workers shouldn’t even contemplate the possibility of being overlooked for a promotion or higher duties because they have disclosed their mental health state.  

#5 Workers More Likely to Be Proactive About Their Mental Health

Awareness training can educate workers about the importance of taking action when their mental health is suffering. When they are aware of the signs, workers are more likely to make an appointment to see their doctor or contact their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider. Left unchecked for a long period can cause significant mental and physical health concerns.

#6 Improved Culture

Providing organisation-wide training means it’s more likely to influence culture rather than having just a few employees battling mental health. Employees are more likely to realise that no form of bullying and harassment will be part of an organisation that cares for their employees' wellbeing. Employees learn that a peer support mentality is how the organisation operates.  

#7 Mentally Health Activities Part of Everyday Work Life

After awareness training, staff members are more likely to participate in daily activities that promote good mental health. Simple and regular changes are what can make a difference. For example, rather than holding every meeting in a room, taking it outside and walking while you talk can improve attentiveness. Being physically active outdoors is also a great way to reduce stress levels. Quick standup meetings in the morning mean everyone is getting a check-in session. Encourage employees to speak up if their workload is too high or they need assistance with any blockers. Awareness is essential, and when more people know the benefits of taking short, regular breaks away from their workstations, more staff members may implement these actions.

Benefits to the Organisation

Employees aren't the only ones that can benefit from mental health awareness training. A PWC study found that the employer receives a return on investment of $2.30 for every dollar they spend on mental health in the workplace.  

When a worker takes time off work for a mental health condition, it often involves a significant recovery period. Compared to physical injuries, the return to work can be lengthy, and the high compensation claim means higher policy costs in future. By creating mental health awareness, the organisation may prevent staff members from needing to take extended leave. 

Find out more about mental health aid and training programs that are part of our organisational psychology services. You can also contact us online or call 1800 258 487 for more information on how we can help you optimise an employee's physical, mental and social health, as well as boost workplace culture and productivity.

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