2 out of 3 organisations do not have a prevention plan for mental health issues

Is one of your employees suffering from an anxiety disorder, burn-out or depression? Not surprising, since mental health issues are commonplace at work, putting organisations under pressure. Laying down a preventive action plan and offering your supervisors proper training will allow you to cope. But there’s the rub.

“Although most Belgian organisations acknowledge the impact of mental health problems, only a minority actually tackles them,” says Koen Van Hulst, head of Psychosocial Aspects at Mensura.

From acknowledging to spotting

A survey of 508 managers and HR managers shows that 7 out of 10 organisations acknowledge mental health issues as a cause of absenteeism. These problems mainly have to do with stress and burn-out, private problems – such as divorce or the death of a loved one – and depression. Conflicts, bullying or addiction sometimes also lead to absenteeism.

“The fact that organisations acknowledge the problem is positive in itself, but they also need to identify tell-tale signs of insidious difficulties in time,” says Koen. “HR staff and supervisors are the eyes and ears of the employer in the workplace. In practice, however, they often prove to be inadequately trained to look for red flags, initiate a chat and possibly refer the person to professional help.”

Lack of structural approach

Companies generally adopt a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the mental health of their workers. Koen: “They are aware of the impact of depression and burn-out on their organisation, but fail to spot difficulties and address them with a structural and preventive approach. This proves to be a blind spot in the approach to absenteeism.”

Tailored action plan

This is also supported by the findings: only 1 out of 3 organisations has a prevention plan for mental health issues. Among SMEs, this is even 2 out of 10.

 “And yet, a preventive action plan is the ideal tool to monitor the mental well-being of employees,” Koen emphasises. “It helps companies identify the risks that are specific to their activities, and translate them into proper actions. These can take the form of training courses, but also individual counseling, coaching and so on. Combine this with well-trained HR managers and supervisors, and you’ve laid the foundation for a productive organisation with mentally fit employees.”

Read all blog posts about ‘mentally fit’.

First Aid for Mental Health issues

Addressed to supervisors like yourself, the training in First Aid for Mental Health issues teaches you to spot tell-tale signs of underlying problems. You also get to practice conducting confidential chats with employees through role play. Mensura also assists you in drawing up a preventative action plan


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