World Mental Health Day 2023 is based around the theme of, “Mental health is a universal human right”. The purpose being to improve knowledge and awareness of different mental health illnesses, and drive actions that promote everyone’s mental health.

Many people experience mental health challenges. In fact, Mind estimates a quarter of people in the UK experience a mental health problem of some kind each year, which could stem from personal or professional environments (past or present), genetics, or illness.

As awareness around mental health continues to increase, individuals have rightly become more protective of their mental wellness and what that looks like in their work life. According to our 2023 Talent Trends report, eight in 10 people would choose their mental health and having a good work-life balance over career success. As a result, it’s something that employees are taking seriously and they want employers to respect and support them in this value.

For many, that means finding an employer that's conscious of the potential impact of workplace stress and acts to take care of their workforce, while also providing appropriate support for employees experiencing mental health challenges, whether they are new, returning, or ongoing. 

How can you tell if an employer practices what they preach?

Unfortunately, many still talk the talk without walking the walk – or a company’s approach to mental health may not trickle down effectively to line managers. So, what can you do to check employers actually provide a mentally safe workplace? 

While you might look at a company’s LinkedIn profile when doing pre-application or pre-interview research, this often is not the best source of information.

Instead, consider how you might be able to get a more honest view.

Employee feedback. Do you know anyone who already works for the company who might be able to share their spin as an employee? If not, try looking at reviews from present and past employees on a website like Glassdoor – that will usually give a good and unbiased overview of what a company culture looks like and how much they care about employee wellbeing. 

Speak to a recruiter, like Michael Page. Our team of expert consultants speak to and partner with different companies every day, and are good at identifying the pros and cons of working for an organisation. This means they will likely have some insight on company culture and mental health policies they can share so that you can gain a better picture of the company. 

Employee value proposition (EVP) review. Often, an organisations EVP includes information about and examples of how they look after their staff: Does it go further than a free breakfast or office pizza? Do they offer mental health days? Is there anything missing that you might expect or that you have experienced with other employers? How do these values line up with yours?

Questions should you ask about an employer’s approach to mental health

An interview isn’t just for the employer to decide if you are right fit; it’s also an opportunity for you to identify whether the company is somewhere you want to work - from a role and culture perspective. If mental health wellbeing is high on your list of priorities, it's the perfect opportunity to ask the interviewer more about their offering.

Questions we'd recommended asking include:

  • What measures do you take to prevent stress and burnout amongst your employees?
  • How do you manage peaks in workload when it comes to staffing?
  • Do you have an employee assistance programme or a healthcare plan, and what does that look like?
  • Do you provide training for line managers and employees on recognising and supporting people with mental health concerns?

Ultimately, if you spotted any red flags by the end of the interview process that can’t be resolved, it is worth asking yourself whether you are prepared to leave your current role without certainty that your new employer will respect your desire for work-life balance and protect your mental health.

Moreover, remember that a dedicated recruitment partner like Michael Page will be an excellent vehicle to find employers who are able to offer the level of support you are looking for. 

If you're thinking about your next role, search our current jobs, or submit your CV and one of our expert consultants will be in touch. 

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