Safeguarding Your Mental Health at Work

Whatever your job role, there will be times when you are likely to come across challenges which may be stressful and traumatic.

You may have to hear or respond to people who are in distressing situations, or reply to emails that make you feel shock, anger, sympathy, disbelief or sadness. You may be experiencing an increase in workload due to higher waiting lists and fewer resources. These situations may be particularly common if you work in a safeguarding role or have a remit for providing support to adults at risk and vulnerable children.

The Mental Health Foundation explains that mental health can be referred to as ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’ and it’s just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, your mental health can alter over time. We all have times when we feel down and most of the time these feelings pass.

It is important to recognise how you are feeling and feel confident to access help if you are struggling at work.

Your Mental Health Matters

If you’re struggling, you are not alone. Your mental health matters, and you deserve support. Here are some practical tips to support you with your mental health in a workplace context. We have also included additional resources that may help to support you.

Talk to a Trusted Person

Whatever sector you are based in, it is likely that if you are struggling at work colleagues can empathise.

Try talking to a trusted colleague who understands your experiences or alternatively speak to someone outside of your workplace.

Some organisations may have welfare or safeguarding leads you can speak to in confidence. Check out Mind’s tips for starting conversations about mental health.

Limit Social Media Use

Try to limit your use of social media if possible.

Recently, we have heard from people who have a remit for managing an organisation’s social media channels and are struggling because of the abusive messages they are required to respond to as part of their work.

If you are in a similar situation, talk to your manager or a colleague to get support with this in the first instance. Hootsuite also have practical tips for dealing with trolling in a workplace context.

Respect Your Boundaries

It is important to respect your boundaries. Since the covid-19 pandemic, ways of working and people’s workloads have dramatically changed. If you are struggling with your workload don’t be afraid to say so. You cannot be expected to take on endless volumes of additional work due to services closing or waiting lists for services increasing.

Speak with your manager about what tasks are a priority or consider if you can make use of any technologies that could make certain tasks less time consuming.

Take Regular Breaks

Ensure you take regular breaks. If you are busy at work, it can be easy to work through your breaks, but this is likely to increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Taking breaks will support you to increase your productivity overall, so plan your breaks and stick to them. Try chatting with colleagues, going for a walk or reading a book.

Discover More

  • Mind have created resources to support the mental health of people working in the emergency services, such as the police, fire, search and rescue and the ambulance service.
  • NCVO have created practical tips for self-care when working in safeguarding.
  • The NHS have launched ‘Your Mind Plan ‘which asks you five questions about your mental health to provide you with bespoke advice.
  • Access our resources to enable you to create a safer culture within your sport and activity club or within your organisation.
  • Mind have a free helpline service that you can access online or via telephone if you want to speak to someone in confidence about your mental health.
  • Check out our guidance for self-care when working from home.
  • If you are a manager, read Mind’s guide to supporting staff with mental health challenges.
  • Bupa have highlighted some practical tips for looking after your mental health at work.

This guidance is intended to support positive wellbeing in the workplace. If you are worried that you or a colleague need urgent support, make an emergency GP appointment or call 999. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK and Republic of Ireland)


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