Guest blog: how to support staff with mental health issues
Clare Rogers, owner of award-winning salon The Treatment Rooms in Brighton, explores how salon owners can manage mental health in the workplace and tackle the causes of work-related mental health problems.
We work in an industry that’s about making others feel better about themselves, so it’s vital we look after ourselves and those we care about – our employees.
As an employer, I believe we need to look after the wellbeing of our staff and that includes their mental wellness.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is relevant to mental health and issues arising because of work conditions could be seen as “personal injury”. Even if the issue hasn’t arisen due to work, it will come into the workplace.
Most of us will experience a change in circumstances in our lives that can throw us off balance – a house move, relationship breakdown, new baby, promotion, demotion, new job, bereavement, sickness and more.
These situations can change how we behave and how we think, and as much as we believe our work won’t be affected, it will.
This period can be temporary and your staff could get back to wellness, however, some people have ongoing mental health issues – anxiety and depression being the most common.
A culture of openness
The more people can talk about these issues the less stigma and negativity there will be attached to the term “mental ill health”.
You need to be more aware of your team and be ready to support them through these times. Talking is vital.
Let them know you’re concerned and want to help, and make sure the time and place is suitable to have a private conversation. Then, ask how they’re feeling and listen without judgement. Sometimes that may be enough.
Taking the pressure off an employee can make a huge difference when they know people care, so give them more time off if needed. A strong team will rally round and help cover to support their colleague.
If the conversation reveals something more, then guide them to professional support, such as a visit to their GP or even counselling. They may not know there is support available.
How to promote mental wellbeing
I recently went on a mental health first aid course and I would highly recommend it for salon owners that work closely with their staff.
I learned a lot, including things you can do in the workplace to encourage mental wellness, such as:
- Suggesting staff have a digital detox day/week
- A monthly massage for each team member
- Fresh supply of fruit in the staff room
- Team building/charity events
- Social/team events
- Encouraging staff to travel/see the world.