There’s a danger of being drawn in by sales and marketing teams to purchase mental health tools and services that you may not need, according to experts speaking at the recent Cover Mental Health Forum.
Before rushing into a purchase, take your time and identify your needs. Look at what you’ve already got and see how you can make better use of it.
Get senior leaders involved
Some great work is already being done. Lloyds Bank’s #GetTheInsideOut campaign springs to mind, as does Legal & General’s Not A Red Card Awards and Hiscox’s WeMind network: all of which are united in their senior exec-led approach, getting leaders to open up and involved in destigmatising mental health.
It’s for SMEs too
Of course, this shouldn’t be isolated to big companies only. Health Cash Plan providers, for example, are bringing affordable, tailored and integrated physical and psychological services along with educational services and strategic support to SMEs.
But how do you determine what’s relevant?
Think better usage, not more services
At last count, over 3,000 self-care apps could be found in various app stores, all promising to boost emotional wellbeing. In addition, there’s an array of podcasts and online support, mood self-assessment tools, do-it-yourself cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) workshops - the list goes on.
Some of these will inevitably be much more effective than others, but the biggest problem is encouraging employees to use them.
Focus on improving self-awareness
Psychologist Fiona Murden, speaking as part of a recent Vitality@Work podcast The Mindful Workplace, says that individual self-awareness, something that’s often lacking in our fast-paced, tech-fuelled world, is key to ensuring the right help is sought at the right time.
She said: “It’s about knowing where your weak spots are and where you’ll need help. You can learn about yourself by using anything from tracking apps or an Apple watch to a simple notepad: logging things like your sleep and why you felt down at any point in the day.”
You can’t fix what you don’t understand
To sum up: If your car broke down you wouldn’t just buy a random selection of tools and parts in blind hope that something might do the job. You’d take the time to get under the bonnet, understand the problem, learn how to fix it and use the equipment already at your disposal where possible.
Surely, the human brain deserves the same kind of attentiveness?