How to develop mental health awareness among employees

26 November 2019

MHIB (Mental Health in Business) is a partner of Compass, aiming to help Members create mentally healthy workplaces.

MHIB provides advice, guidance and support in line with the latest UK Government guidelines so that you are equipped to do everything you can to implement good mental health and wellbeing practices in your business. Below, Claire Russell and the team offer advice and guidance on developing awareness about mental health within your business.

Once you have started work on your ‘mental health at work plan’ (see previous email) the next thing to do is look at how to raise mental health awareness among your employees.

Raising awareness when it comes to mental health plays a big part in ending the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.

What is stigma?

Stigma is ‘a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person’ (Oxford English Dictionary).

The last thing we want in our workplaces is for people to feel alienated, fearful and unable to speak up if they are struggling with a mental health problem. By raising awareness and ultimately changing our thinking around mental health we can foster an inclusive, accepting workplace that helps people to thrive at work.

We must avoid a situation were employees are ‘soldiering on’ and suffering in silence at all costs!

Those people who are coming into work when they are ill with symptoms of a mental health problem (presenteeism) are at high risk of developing a more serious mental health condition which could result in a lengthy sickness absence in the future.

“Increased presenteeism is associated with increases in reported common mental health conditions as well as stress-related absence, which are among the top causes of long-term sickness absence” (Health and Well-being at Work Report, CIPD April 2019).

Here are some great ways to raise mental health awareness among your employees as part of a good mental health at work strategy;

  • If you already have support in place such as an existing EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) then make sure everyone knows about it and knows how to access it.
  • Appoint ‘mental health champions’. Choose people who are passionate about mental health and want to be part of making a difference in your workplace.
  • Offer MHFA (Mental health First Aid) training to employees, managers and leaders.
  • Normalise the conversation around mental health in your business by creating ‘parity of esteem’ between physical health and mental health.
  • Understand and communicate the idea that we all have mental health and we are all on a ‘mental health continuum’ which we move around on depending on our life circumstances at any given time
  • Share mental health resources and articles in any internal communications with your employees
  • Organise mental health and wellbeing events

For advice and support specific to your business, contact Mental Health in Business:


Tel: 01788 340180


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