Parent Mental Health Day 2023
Today is Parent Mental Health Day, organized by stem4
It’s an opportunity for workplaces to consider the mental health and well-being of parents and carers within their organisation. Being a working parent or carer can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, as it involves balancing the responsibilities of both career and family. Many parents or carers struggle to find a balance, which can lead to feelings of guilt, stress, and burnout.
Stem4’s theme for #PMHD 2023 is #BuildFamilyResilience, focusing on how parents and carers can successfully adapt to challenging life situations, and deal with their own stress and anxiety, while navigating their family through difficult times.
In light of this, we have some tips for employers to help acknowledge and address the mental health and well-being of parents and carers, and how best to support them in their journey of navigating parenthood and work and becoming more resilient to the challenges that working life throws at them.
1. Communication is key
It’s important when supporting parents in the workplace that there are clear and open lines of dialogue between the parent/carer, the employer, and any support systems in place. This can help to address any concerns or issues that may arise, ensure that the parent/carer is receiving the necessary accommodations and support, and promote a positive and productive work environment. Additionally, effective communication can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, and foster a sense of trust and support between all parties involved.
2. Offering real flexibility
Flexible working can include things like remote or hybrid working, flexible hours like part-time work or compressed hours or job sharing and is one of the most important things an employer can do to support parents or carers in finding the right balance between family life and work. Not only does this allow parents to continue to work and contribute, it helps promote gender equality and keeps talented and experienced workers in your organisation.
3. Family friendly policies
Your organisation needs to create a culture that supports the wellbeing of parents and carers, but also needs to include those who are considering parenthood, those who are pregnant, those who are adopting or fostering and those who are struggling to become parents. Having these policies in place can form part of your wider Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) strategy, to make your workplace a more inclusive one. If you want to assess how inclusive your business is, take our ED&I assessment tool.
4. Mental Health support
Another important way to support working parents, is to provide resources and signposting for mental health support. This can include things like employee assistance programs, counselling services, and access to mental health professionals. And to truly empower your line managers in supporting their teams, they need to be trained so that they have the confidence and capability to have these sensitive conversations about mental health. Training can cover things like:
- How to spot the early signs, symptoms and behaviours of mental health and take the right action.
- Understanding the mental health spectrum, including stress, anxiety and depression
- The importance of self-care and managing stressors in and out of the workplace
- Enable a smooth transition back to work for those returning after long-term mental illness.
Sunrise Senior Living chose AdviserPlus to deliver Mental Health Awareness training for its leadership team during the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can see why they chose us in this short video.
5. Support for those who are breast/chestfeeding
There are additional challenges for those still feeding their children upon their return to work, and employers have an obligation to put measures in place to ensure they can effectively feed and/or pump during working hours. Read our blog, written for World Breastfeeding Week 2022 on breast/chestfeeding at work for how to implement this effectively in the workplace.
6. Bring people together
Finally, workplaces can also offer support groups and peer networks for parents and carers, which can provide a sense of community and a safe space to share their experiences and receive support from others who understand the unique challenges that they are facing.
By doing this, it benefits the organisation too.
One of the benefits of looking after parental mental health is that it can lead to improved employee engagement and productivity. When parents and carers feel supported and empowered to manage their mental health, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, which can lead to increased productivity and a more positive work environment. Additionally, providing support for parental mental health can also lead to improved retention, as parents are more likely to stay with an organisation that has their well-being at front of mind.