Timely mental health support

At work, mental health can be promoted and supported in many ways. All mental health issues, however, cannot be prevented. Make sure that your company has procedures and instructions for facing mental health issues and for using outside help. Your most important partner for this is your occupational health service provider.

Identify mental health issues and address them early on

Lower the threshold for seeking help, but strive to address work-related issues also at work. Often the problem may have roots in workplace structures and practices, but sometimes it can also simply a workload issue. You can influence these.

When an employee shows symptoms, the best way for the supervisor to support them is with early support measures. With a good early support model, you can promote your employees’ work performance, reduce unnecessary absences due to illness and the prolongation of illnesses, and support the employees’ return to work.

Also consider developing peer support between employees at the workplace as one option. In many cases, it may be easier to first tell a colleague about difficult situations. This naturally requires developing and supporting employees’ competence and an open and trusting culture of dialogue.

Authorise supervisors to act in unexpected situations

Life is full of all kinds of situations that can temporarily weaken work ability. At work, you should prepare for these situations in advance. Supervisors should be authorised to agree on flexible working hours and other minor exceptions. This way they can support the employee, if something unexpected occurs or if there is a temporary need for flexible work in case of a loved one’s serious illness or death, for example.

Work closely with occupational health services

You can help your employees to remain healthy and able to work by offering them comprehensive occupational health services. Research shows that the state of health, experience of being healthy and receiving help are directly linked to mental well-being. You should, therefore, focus on the availability and coverage of occupational health services and also encourage health-promoting activities and support them at the workplace.

Occupational health services are much more than just a personnel benefit. Good occupational health services collaboration focuses on preventive and health-promoting activities. Occupational health services collaboration also involves evaluating and managing work related health risks. Read more about occupational health collaboration.

It is important that you detect the problems as early on as possible, because then you will have more ways to solve them. Make sure that the following things are in order with your occupational health service provider:

  • reporting of the occupational health services is clear, comprehensive and regular 
  • monitoring implemented actions 
  • creating a shared action plan 
  • updating the action plan.

Occupational healthcare a statutory service that does not necessarily cover all of your company’s needs in promoting mental health. However, the service offering of most occupational health service providers is much wider than the minimum level required by law. Ask questions and challenge your occupational health partner to offer solutions that meet your company’s precise needs.

Read more about building successful occupational health collaboration