How Can Employers Help Mental Health in the Workplace?

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • What mental health is.
  • Why mental health is important.
  • Why mental health support is important in the workplace.
  • How employers can help mental health in the workplace. 
  • The consequences of not prioritising mental health in the workplace.

What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of wellbeing which can affect a person’s ability to deal with everyday stress.

Good mental health helps people cope with feeling low and determines how they handle stress, make positive life choices and create strong relationships with others in the workplace.

However, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, can affect a person’s professional performance by hindering their ability to concentrate, making it difficult to meet deadlines and multi-task.

According to MIND, mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to less common disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

A person's mental health can be affected by a number of different factors, including:

  • Childhood abuse.
  • Bereavement.
  • Social isolation.
  • Drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Unemployment.
  • Bullying.

Throughout this blog, we delve into how employers can help mental health and the consequences of not prioritising mental health in the workplace.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important for overall wellbeing and impacts various aspects of life. Positive mental health contributes to better physical health, productivity and relationships.

Mental health plays a vital role in coping with stress, promoting emotional wellbeing, and facilitating cognitive functions for learning and development. Prioritising mental health is a proactive measure in preventing mental health disorders and reducing societal stigma. Mental health is also important as it can affect a person’s physical health. For example, mental health issues can increase the risk of physical health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

For anybody struggling with their mental health, there are a number of charities that provide 24/7 support. We’ve compiled a list of 7 mental health charities and their contact details to reach out to.

Why is mental health support important in the workplace?

Mental health support in the workplace is important because without sufficient support, mental health conditions can have a significant effect on a person’s ability to carry out their job role. Mental health conditions can hinder a person’s productivity, contribute to increased absences, and complicate the process of either retaining current employment or securing new work opportunities.

By promoting positive mental health within the workplace, an employer is able to demonstrate to employees that there is a support system in place for anyone struggling. Ultimately, support with mental health in the workplace, allows each individual to reach their highest potential, make valuable contributions to their team and develop personally and professionally.

However, for a person struggling with poor mental health at work, it can negatively affect motivation, productivity and overall wellbeing. This may lead to challenges in maintaining focus, meeting deadlines, and sustaining a healthy work-life balance. Addressing mental health concerns is crucial for fostering a supportive work environment for all employees. 

How can employers help mental health in the workplace?

Employers can help mental health in the workplace by regularly checking in on their employees. Employers should ensure their employees feel comfortable enough to talk to them about any problems they may be facing. 

The sooner an employer becomes aware of a mental health problem, the sooner they can provide help and support. If employees feel as if they can talk to someone openly about any issue they might be dealing with, it could result in less time off work for poor mental health and avoid employee burnout.

Ways employers can promote positive mental health include:

  • Providing mental health resources.
  • Scheduling regular check-ins.
  • Offering mental health days.
  • Promoting physical wellbeing.

Provide mental health resources

Employers could offer Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to their employees, in order for them to be able to access a variety of counselling services. EAPs allow employees to gain access to a range of services tailored to their specific needs, including professional counselling, crisis intervention, work-life balance assistance and more. 

Employers could also share information about mental health resources, both within and outside of their organisation.

By providing mental health resources, it raises general awareness and allows employees who don't suffer from a mental health illness to be able to spot the signs and learn more. Raising awareness throughout the whole team, may encourage employees to openly discuss their feelings and seek help for their mental health. 

Schedule regular check-ins

Employers could schedule regular one-on-one check-ins with their employees. This will enable employers to see how their employees are doing both professionally and personally. 

Check-in’s also provide the chance to set goals, monitor wellbeing, review employee performance and speak about any issues they may be facing in the workplace.

Offer mental health days

Employers could allow employees to take days off work to look after their mental health, without them having to worry about the stigma of doing so. Providing this opportunity might encourage employees to be more open and honest about their mental health issues.

Allowing mental health days can also help with workplace stress management. If an employee is feeling burnt out and stressed in the workplace, allowing a day off to recover can give them the time they need to relax and recharge. Stepping away from responsibilities for a short period of time can make a person more productive and help to develop their stress management skills.

Promote physical wellbeing

Promoting physical wellbeing is beneficial for employees’ mental health. Exercise releases a chemical in the brain known as dopamine. Dopamine plays a vital role in decreasing stress, depression, anxiety and improving mood. Exercise has also been found to reduce feelings of low self-esteem and solitude.

Being physically active can also help a person to manage their weight, strengthen their muscles and improve their brain health. 

Improved brain health can help a person's productivity in work. A healthy brain provides higher levels of creativity, improved problem solving and clearer thinking. This will benefit a person in the workplace as it allows them to be more focused and make the most of their potential. 

Employers can promote physical wellbeing by:

  • Supplying gym memberships.
  • Encouraging regular breaks.
  • Providing healthy snack options in the workplace.
  • Creating a cycle to work scheme.
  • Providing on-site fitness facilities.

What are the consequences of not prioritising mental health in the workplace?

Prioritising mental health in the workplace is of utmost importance. Employees who are dealing with mental health issues are more likely to take sick leave resulting in potential costs for the business.

Not prioritising mental health can also contribute to increased turnover as employees might seek a work environment elsewhere. Higher turnover rates can be costly for the workplace in terms of recruitment and training.

Employees who feel like their mental health is not valued at work, might also become disengaged, leading to decreased job satisfaction.

Failing to prioritise mental health may also contribute to a negative workplace culture. Employees may feel unsupported, stressed and overwhelmed which could result in a bad name for the business.

The Health & Safety Act 1974 imposes responsibilities on employers towards their employees. As well as physical risks, organisations have a legal responsibility to protect employees from work-related stress and to carry out stress risk assessments. Neglecting these obligations could result in legal consequences and damage a workplace's reputation.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us. 

We believe that recruitment is about more than just matching candidates and clients. We understand the importance of a role that can boost their salary, standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health.

As we continue to improve and evolve, we are driven by our commitment to effecting positive change across every interaction. Whether its individuals seeking a career change, or enterprises aiming for unprecedented growth, we’re determined to shape a brighter more fulfilling future for all.

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

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