How to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems: top tips for

1. Develop a mental health strategy. A clear policy should set out how the organisation will promote wellbeing for all staff, tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems and support staff experiencing them.

2. Carry out a policy and practice review. Make sure your HR policies are joined up and inclusive of mental health. Staff should be given information on how mental health is managed and what support is available as part of induction and equality and diversity training.

3. Ensure line managers are confident discussing mental health. Managers need training and clear guidelines so they’re well equipped to support staff experiencing a mental health problem. Publicise internal and external support pathways so all staff are clear on how mental health is managed and what support is available.

 4. Normalise mental health. Building temperature checks into your organisation’s culture helps to normalise conversations about mental health and promote open dialogue and positive attitudes and behaviours. Make sure managers regularly meet with staff, ask them how they’re doing and are open to discuss issues such as personal development, workload and personal issues.

5. Routinely take stock of mental health. To plan effective improvements, you need a clear picture of the organisation’s mental health. Look out for areas of the organisation or job roles where there’s a risk of poor wellbeing – if timesheets show excessive hours, or if sickness absence rates increase in one area, this may indicate a problem.

6. Promote a good work–life balance. Senior leaders should role model these positive behaviours where possible. Supporting employees to fit their lives around their work with more flexible working practices can also keep people healthy, committed and productive and help reduce sickness absence.

7. Promote positive work relationships. Encourage staff exercise and social events, support a culture of teamwork, collaboration and information-sharing and back this up with robust policies on bullying and harassment. Peer support, buddy systems and mentoring allow colleagues to support one another outside of the official line-management structure and help promote positive work relationships.

8. Prioritise personal development. Support managers to have regular work related conversations with employees, to coach them and share learning. This type of mentoring helps staff to gain confidence and develop new skills without breaking the bank.

9. Foster employee engagement. Staff need to feel the organisation values and supports them and their work is meaningful. Promoting two way communication and involving staff in decision-making helps build trust and integrity. Seek out the views of staff, listen to what they say and take action to address any issues identified. This can help you better understand and improve your organisation and staff will repay you with stronger commitment.

10. Ensure the voices of people with mental health problems are heard. Staff forums, diversity networks and other structures that represent the voice of employees should involve and include staff with mental health problems. This helps ensure employers understand people’s experiences and can also encourage colleagues with mental health problems to become role models and advocates across the organisation.

This is an extract from How to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems by UK organisation Mind.