Posted on: 04 May 2021

Looking after mental health at your business

Every year, millions of people struggle with mental health illnesses, with the World Health Organisation estimating that 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives.

In the UK, one week in May is recognised as Mental Health Awareness Week, which raises awareness for mental health illnesses by focussing on a particular aspect of mental health and how you can improve that area of your life to improve your mental health.

In 2021, Mental Health Awareness Week falls between 10th-16th May, and the theme is nature.

How does nature impact your mental health?

For the majority of human history, we have relied on nature to provide us with our food, our shelter and even income generation.

As a species, we have become more and more detached from nature over the last few generations, but a connection with nature is associated with being good for your health. Take a look at some of these ways that nature can help with mental health.

Staving off isolation

Spending time indoors, which many of us have had to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, can often lead to poor mental health due to feeling isolated, especially for those who live alone. One of the ways that you can stave off these feelings of isolation is to get outside and experience nature.

Even if it just for a short walk around the block, getting outside with some fresh air can help lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

Attention, mood and anxiety

A piece of research into nature and our mental health from the University College London found that those suffering from attention disorders, such as ADHD, and mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression can benefit from spending time outdoors, around nature.

Not just your mental health…

Research has found that being out in nature is also a positive way to look after your physical health, by reducing your blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension.

All of these changes result in better physical health in the long run.

What can your business do to help staff get out into nature

According to the HSE, 602,000 people in the UK suffered from work-related stress, anxiety or depression. These conditions have all been found to be eased by simply spending some time in and around nature.

Take a look at some of the things you can do to encourage your team to get back to nature.

Encourage walking breaks

Encourage the team to take a short 15 to 30-minute walk on their break to help get them outside.

This is especially important for people in sedentary roles, such as office workers.

Eat lunch outside

If you have an outdoor space large enough to accommodate a few tables, put some down and encourage your team to eat outside.

Many people don’t feel as though they have the time to have a walk during their breaks, but if they can eat outdoors, then this will help them get out into nature.

Outdoor meetings

Your team may enjoy their lunch outdoors, but what about implementing ways of working outdoors too?

If you have space, you could allow meetings to take place outdoors, as long as they didn’t require equipment or talk about any confidential information that could be overheard.

What else can you do to improve mental health in your business?

Encourage open mental health discussion

Mental health is something that can affect any of us and can be difficult to deal with alone, so encourage an environment where your team can feel as though they can talk about their problems.

Put up posters around your business that talk about mental health, and signpost to mental health helplines, such as the NHS’s Every Mind Matters website or to Mind.

Mental health first aider

You may have someone in your business who is first aid trained. This person will look after the physical wellbeing of your employees, assessing casualties and administering medical care to injuries.

A mental health first aider has a similar role, but for mental health problems. Mental health first aid training will give a member of your team the skills and knowledge to identify if someone is struggling with mental health problems and give support to someone who may be struggling. Find out more about mental health first aiders from Mental Health First Aid England.

Provide reasonable adjustments

If a member of your team has a mental health illness, adjust how they work to help them continue to perform whilst not aggravating their problems.

Providing a laptop or changing working hours can allow flexibility to your employees whilst still letting them work, and can work wonders for mental health.

Charity partnership with Mind

In 2019, Premierline’s parent company, Allianz UK, signed a 3-year partnership with Mind, with the challenge of raising £1m for the mental health charity.

As of 4th May 2021, Allianz UK has raised over £750,000 for Mind.  

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