Mental Health Issues Affect Someone You Know
Currently we are in the middle of “Mental Health Awareness Week 2022”, which is a great initiative to raise awareness and work towards dropping the taboo surrounding mental health in society. Whilst there is heightened awareness this week, you should be mindful that mental health issues affect people that you know and work with year round, day in day out. The numbers of those suffering from mental health issues is at its highest and the numbers are only likely to increase. The pandemic certainly did not help – people working from home felt isolated, lonely and worried and with hybrid/remote working now a common feature of society, awareness of mental health issues is important for us all.
Employers in the travel industry have a myriad of different issues to deal with right now, but addressing mental health in the workplace is important, because if it is ignored the knock on effect is that staff can’t perform or go off sick, creating further problems. In some instances mental health issues could amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010, namely if the issue is having a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out their normal day to day activities. In which case the employer would be legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace, such as adjustments to procedures or working patterns for example. Failure to do so would most likely result in the employee being awarded compensation by an employment tribunal.
Be Proactive – Watch for the Signs
Ignoring mental health issues in the workplace will not help the employee or employer. Engaging early and opening a conversation is likely to result in the best outcome, so that the situation can be understood, and support offered. A collaborative approach is the best way of joining up the dots, rather than making assumptions. However in order for employers to do this they have to be proactive rather than ignoring the situation. This means as an employer being able to spot the signs of mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. This does not mean that employers need to be medically qualified but sometimes the signs will be obvious, such as disengagement and changes in normal behaviour. There are plenty of resources such as Mind available to help. Some employers have adopted initiatives such as mental health first aid champions and rolled out training to managers on mental health in the workplace. In addition, many employers will already have in place Employee Assistance Programmes and employers should signpost how these can be accessed.
The Benefits for Employers
The employers who address mental health in the workplace are those most likely to be viewed positively. This means they normalise talk about mental health, they provide a supportive environment and culture. In short, employees and employers feel able to talk openly and freely.
For help and advice on employment issues within the travel industry, contact;
0113 258 0033