Posted By Richard Holmes

Posted on14th May 2018

It’s Mental health Awareness week from 14th – 20th May, so we want to talk about mental health in the workplace.

There were over half a million (526,000) cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety In 2016/17, accounting for 40% of all work-related ill health*.

With mental health-related presenteeism costing employers up to three times the cost of mental health-related absence, it’s an issue that can’t be overlooked*.

We’ve put together our top 5 tips on how to be an approachable line manager so you can support your team’s mental health:

1. Understand their strengths and weaknesses

Everyone is an individual and has different strengths and weaknesses, both mentally and physically. Using a bespoke, personalised approach is key. Everybody reacts differently to pressure, so treating each person’s needed can enhance their performance.

2. Don’t be overly formal

Hold casual meetings as well as formal one-to-ones. Try going for a coffee or taking them for lunch as a treat. It may help your colleague feel more comfortable and relaxed around you.

3. Get moving your steps in

We’ve all heard of walking meetings, but do they really make a difference? Studies show high amounts of sitting is linked to psychological distress***. Likewise, among overweight/obese adults, decreasing sedentary time and increasing moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity were associated with a reduced risk of depression. Help to decrease the risk of depression and poor mental health in your team by suggesting walking catch ups every now and again.

4. Follow up on actions

Once you’ve had a one-to-one with a colleague, it’s your responsibility to make sure that relevant actions are taken. If they don’t, colleagues will lose trust in you as a manager which could make them less likely to open up to you in the future. Keep your team up to date with the status of each action and let them know it is being dealt with.

5. Don’t try to be the expert

As a manager, you aren’t expected to be a counsellor. Giving out incorrect advice is just as bad as not giving it. If you don’t feel confident in providing advice, share any issues with the most appropriate person – always at your colleague’s discretion.

If you’d like more information about mental health support and workplace health and wellbeing, call 03331 227343 or visit

*According to the Deloitte UK Mental Health Monitor, October 2017

**Research conducted by Westfield Health in April 2018, surveying 2,025 UK employees

*** Source

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