Good mental health and wellbeing practices

Photograph of two people studying in a research library with the image of tree branches superimposed on the room.
Image Credit: Remix by Joe Arton. Originals: Ed Van Dujin Unsplash and University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections Research Suite, Main Library, October 2008. Catalogue No. 0007750

In this post, Joanna Fairweather an HR Partner in the Learning and Organisation Development Team, Human Resources talks about how to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing, how to promote good mental health and wellbeing practices, and highlights the support available from the University of Edinburgh…

We all have mental health. Discussions on mental health tend to focus on those experiencing mental illness who need care or support, and Universities have a duty towards those staff, as well as a responsibility to identify those at risk and intervene early.

Mental wellbeing doesn’t have one set meaning. We might use it to talk about how we feel, how well we’re coping with daily life or what feels possible at that moment.

The following resources and support have been split into three themes:

  1. Raising Awareness of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
  2. Promoting Good Mental Health and Wellbeing Practices.
  3. Highlighting Support Available from the University of Edinburgh.

Raising Awareness of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Course

HR and Health and Safety are launching a mental health awareness online course to raise awareness of mental health issues and illnesses inside and outside of work. The course will provide you with guidance to support you and others around you and signpost you to University of Edinburgh services available.

Understanding Stress

Stress is the reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them which are not matched by their ability to cope.

Work can bring pressure, and when overwhelmed that can lead to stress. Left unchecked this can leave you physically and mentally unwell.

Occupational Health have lots of great information and advice about identifying, managing and reducing stress, including the stress risk assessment.

Managers have a duty of care to your staff and must take reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of your team.

When it comes to mental health it can be hard to know what to do when supporting someone with a mental health problem. By having frequent, repeated, honest and two-way conversations you can ask how they are feeling, what challenges they are dealing with and what support they need at work. Look for possible signs and symptoms of poor mental health, raise any concerns you see with the individual and encourage them to seek support.

Reasonable Adjustment Support

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team has published short guides for managers supporting staff who are experiencing mental ill health, with a particular focus on reasonable adjustments. These guides sit alongside existing guides on support for neurodiversity and sensory impairments, with further guidance in development.

Promoting Good Mental Health and Wellbeing

Promoting healthy working environments and working practices can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals can thrive.

Good mental wellbeing doesn’t mean you’re always happy or unaffected by your experiences. We might use it to talk about how we feel, how well we’re coping with daily life or what feels possible at the moment.

Evidence suggests there are Five Ways to supporting you look after your mental wellbeing and encourage you to stay active, take notice, keep learning, connect and give.

Building Resilience

By understanding more about resilience you can help develop practices and techniques to cope during periods of change and uncertainty and bounce back from setbacks. The following resources have been produced for you to learn more about resilience:

Highlighting Support Available

There are many great services and departments available that promote good mental health and wellbeing as well as offering support with mental health issues and illnesses. An overview of the support can be found here.

Back in November 2019 HR in conjunction with our Health and Safety colleagues created a Health and Wellbeing Hub to bring together all the great information and resources that the University offers.

photograph of the author

Joanna Fairweather

Joanna Fairweather is an HR Partner in the Learning and Organisation Development Team, Human Resources. She has worked in private, public and third sector organisations. As a qualified career guidance coach and facilitator, she has experience of supporting individuals achieve their full potential. Her current projects include working with the technical community, helping to run the Wellbeing Hub and working with leaders across the organisation.

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