Five tips for HR to help staff combat stress

by John Hilton19 Jul 2018

HR departments today are increasingly being expected to help employees with mental health support.

Public administration professionals in particular are personally reaching out for help with a range of mental wellbeing issues, according to new research.

The findings come from a review of referrals made between 2013 and 2018 by government workers to AccessEAP.

They show that self-referral for mental wellbeing services was up 14% in this sector, making up almost three quarters (73%) of cases.

Moreover, referrals by supervisors and managers (8%), HR (5%) and colleagues (5%) were collectively down by 9%.

The data also shows that in 2018, anxiety is the leading mental health concern for these workers, affecting almost one in three (31%), followed by relationships with partners (14%) and depression (10%).

“While workplace stressors may be changing, its apparent from the data that the effects are relatively similar, with the same impacts on output,” according to Marcela Slepica, clinical services director at AccessEAP.

“We’re encouraged to see that governmental employees are increasingly aware of available support and able to seek help.

“It’s important that employers and HR managers continue to raise awareness of relevant resources, including EAPs and what they offer.”

Slepica shares her top five tips that employers and HR managers can provide to staff to help combat stress:

Accept change as a part of life
Most days require us to adapt to what we are doing to accommodate changing deadlines, new opportunities and unexpected events. When this happens, take stock of your new situation, prioritise your new workload and flag to your team anything that needs more time to complete.

Take five for mindfulness
This is where you let your frantic thinking be put aside without making any judgements. Try this; pause for a moment and take stock of your surroundings, name five things you can see, five things you can hear and five that are in contact with your body.

Communicate, communicate
Employees want to know what is happening or they think the worst. People need to know why a change is happening and what it involves. Acknowledge that change is challenging but show that you believe in your employees, that they will get through this period. Often managers themselves do not have any certainty, making it hard to support others. Acknowledge this and focus on one thing at a time.

Don’t dwell on that which you cannot control
Often it is easy to focus on the past, what it was like and what worked. The change does not mean that the past wasn’t working, it means that change is necessary to survive in today’s world. Focus on small steps or tasks which are in your control, this gives a sense of achievement. You cannot prevent or stop change so give attention to that within your control or ability to influence

Identify your stressors
Make a list of events or situations that sap your mental strength and tactics you have used to address them and how well they work. Use them as an opportunity to create your own toolbox of stress relief actions.

 

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