Since the pandemic, mental health in the workplace has become one of the most talked about subjects in the business world, and for good reason. Our Make Work Better research found that over a third (37%) of employees are suffering from worse mental health than pre-pandemic, with 73% of those citing work as being partially responsible. And nearly half (43%) of managers reported their team had suffered from a rise in anxiety. 

Line managers are at the forefront when it comes to supporting mental health in the workplace, but often feel they don’t have the skills needed to help their team members with mental health problems. And how should they - they’re not professional counsellors after all. 

That’s where mental health training for managers comes in. As the first port of call for struggling employees, it is important to equip managers with the skills and behaviours they need to build positive mental health cultures in the workplace. 

Why is training managers on mental health important?

When your employees suffer from poor mental health at work, it can affect all aspects of the business: from productivity to employee retention and even profitability. And it all circles back to managers because, as the saying goes, “employees join companies and leave bad managers.”

For starters, there is plenty of research showing that stress in the workplace caused by poor leadership results in an increased risk of employees getting seriously ill. In fact, studies show a drastic increase in the number of sick leave taken at workplaces with bad management practices, with 75% of all doctor visits being due to job stress-related problems.

In the UK, work-related stress and anxiety due to ‘a lack of managerial support’ accounts for 54% of working days lost.

Research on productivity levels under bad management paints a similar picture. Stress results in 25% of employees struggling to be as productive as they normally would, while 22% feel disengaged with their work as a result.

And disengaged employees tend to have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and make 60% more errors. This, in turn, leads to 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time.

Not surprisingly then, workplace stress leads to an increase of 50% in voluntary turnover. On the flip side, if a company hired more talented managers (or trained them!) and consequentially doubled the rate of engaged employees, they could achieve 147% higher earnings per share than their competitors.

That’s because there is a direct link between management practices and employee output as managers account for 20% of variation in productivity among firms. 

What our mental health training for line managers looks like

The writing is on the wall: failure to invest in frontline managers will lead to mental health crises developing throughout the workforce. That’s why we’ve created the Mental Health for Managers programme to equip managers with the tools and techniques they need to feel confident about managing their own and their teams’ wellbeing.

Our clinically proven training course programme is made up of 5 key elements to help embed long-term behavioural changes:

  • Benchmarking for success

    First things first: it’s important to understand the situation your employees are currently in so we begin our training programme with a start-up survey. This is to both connect with the team and understand where the gaps may be for us to get to where we want to.

    Involving employees from the get-go, and showing them that we want to hear their experiences means we start to build trust and engagement with the team.

    Upon completion of the training programme, it’s normal for senior management to want to track development and see the difference, which is why we offer post-programme surveys as well. 

  • Marketing the launch

    We know that engaged employees are the most determining factor of a successful wellbeing programme, and the programme launch plays a key role.

    That’s why all of our training programmes start with an email from leadership and our PUSH Founder, Cate Murden to convey the importance of what’s coming. We also run a launch event or webinar to share the programme’s intentions, and convey why it’s so important for 2023.

  • Live training sessions

    The next step is to get into the training itself. We offer four modules and a 75-minute live training session for each (these can be conducted via Zoom or face-to-face).

The modules have all been created by a psychotherapist and comprise of:

  • Mental Health 101

    This module introduces the topic of mental health and explores the effects and experience of mental health as well as the differences between temporary, fluctuating and ongoing mental health conditions.

    The Mental Health Continuum will also be introduced and explained, highlighting how you can use it in your own conversations. Finally, you will spend time exploring the language commonly associated with mental health alongside debunking some of the language often inappropriately used. 

  • Taking Care of your Mental Health

    Taking care of yourself before you take care of others is essential when supporting your team's wellbeing. Doing so is role-modelling behaviour, with the potential to positively influence and empower your team.

    In this module, we explore some basic self-care strategies such as sleep, hygiene, being active and having a brain-healthy diet. We’ll also start on creating your own Wellness Action Plan (WAP) and help you understand how to use it to develop an awareness of both working styles and stress triggers and responses.

  • Mental Health + Your Role

    This module looks at the role you play in supporting your team to manage their mental health and wellbeing better and will help you feel confident in giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way.

    This is important because providing regular feedback shows that you genuinely care about your team’s development, which will in turn see your direct reports improve their performance. At the same time, by giving your team a voice, you will help them become more engaged and ultimately strengthening your working relationship.

  • Having the Conversation

    This module covers the importance of having conversations about mental health and approaching them with empathy, while still maintaining your boundaries. Learn the role of reassuring language, tone of voice, body language, openness and creating a safe environment.

    This session will explain what active listening is and the key skills required and help you understand the skills and techniques needed to put your team members at ease when you are having these crucial conversations.

  • Worksheets and Challenges

    To help retain the knowledge gained, we provide digital follow-up worksheets and challenges after each session.

    These can be accessed via our learning management system (LMS) and upon completion, each employee will receive a completion badge. The complete module content can also be housed in or your own LMS to enable participants to revisit content should they wish to.

  • Group and 1:1 Coaching

    Depending on the needs established in our start-up survey, we can also offer additional sessions can take place after each module to help tackle any individual challenges. These can be done as either group or one-on-one coaching sessions and are entirely optional. 

Mental health awareness for line managers

At PUSH, we help forward-thinking companies prepare their people to thrive at work through our empowering mental health, corporate wellbeing, development and leadership training. Find out more about what we do to Make Work Better.

Looking to enrol your managers in mental health awareness training? Sign up to receive a call back about our Mental Health for Managers training.

Cate Murden
Cate is the Founder and CEO of PUSH. She created PUSH with the fierce belief that with the right tools, mindsets and behaviours, we could build better workplaces full of happy, healthy and high-performing individuals.

more articles by Cate Murden