How Can I Create an Environment Comfortable to Disclose In?
Fortunately there is actually quite a bit you can do here.
Following these guidelines may help staff feel happier about disclosing a mental health condition.
- Set up an equal opportunities and a mental health policy to show your staff that you are an organisation that cares about the welfare of it's employees.
- Discuss the benefits of disclosure versus the stress of non-disclosure at team meetings to all staff taking care not to single anyone out. Disclosure means you are able to offer support as an employer to make working life easier, not disclosing may exacerbate the condition because of the extra stress caused by hiding it and trying to cope at work.
- Show a willingness to make reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act, for example at team meetings remind staff about the sort of things you as a company can do to support any employee who is dealing with a mental health condition. Remember take care not to single anyone out. See possible solutions for some suggestions.
- Organise for mental health awareness training for staff so that they are aware of any developing issues themselves and follow up the training at the team meetings with what support your company offers to staff. For example an Employee Assistance Programme. For further information see additional support and internal support.
- Obviously the best way to encourage an environment people feel comfortable to disclose in is by dealing with situations positively when they arise. If people can see that other people have been supported then they will feel more comfortable to disclose if they find themselves in a similar situation. So make sure you follow all the guidelines outlined in How do I support someone with mental ill health?