Proactive Mental Health Solutions At Work: Is Your Business Driving Without A Fuel Gauge?

As part of their mission to mainstream mental fitness and improve engagement with wellbeing initiatives, Fika are offering free Mental Fitness Activation assessments to organisations across the UK. Learn more:

No manager today should need reminding of the mental health challenges in the workplace, and, in the wake of the pandemic, these have only been exacerbated. A recent survey conducted by Mind found that 60% of adults have said their mental health has declined in the past year.

This is impacting the workplace, with a Personio study conducted in 2021 finding that 38% of UK employees are planning to resign within the next 6 to 12 months, with half of respondents citing unhappiness as a key driver. Essentially, workers are asking themselves ‘how has my employer handled me, my health, and my happiness?’ and, if the answer is negative, leaving for employment where they feel they will be valued.

Recently, sustaining employee wellbeing through preventative, proactive mental health support has been a key focus for employers, and we can all agree that reacting to mental health decline only when clinical problems arise cannot be the only solution that we offer.

The key to engagement

For those of us that have addressed this, by providing more proactive mental health solutions for our teams, we are faced with a separate problem – engagement. I’m sure many of us have been in situations where employees are reporting to us that they’re struggling, but are then not accessing the proactive solutions that we provide. This can be a source of frustration for managers.

In reality, the world of proactive mental health solutions is an immature market, with limited data on effective integration with business practice, or engagement with individual employees. As a result, we often offer a ‘one size fits all’ solution for our employees, without considering how likely they are to engage with it. The reality is that around 80% of people in any given organisation won’t use them at all, meaning they won’t, and can’t, engage in the behaviours necessary for positive mental fitness.  

A key factor when people engage in any behaviour is their level of ‘activation’ in relation to the behaviour itself. Consider putting out the recycling, brushing your teeth, or going to the gym. For each of these behaviours you will be at a certain level of activation in relation to it. The more activated you are, the more likely you are to engage in that behaviour, understand the benefit of it, and perform it confidently. Conversely, without activation, you will not feel confident performing the action or understand the benefit of performing it, so why would you? 

Currently, most of the mental health solutions designed for whole organisation populations are intrinsically designed to benefit the most activated users i.e. those who feel confident downloading an app/software, know already how to integrate it into their working day, and feel confident in doing so. But, most of our employees do not sit in this category. 

Gauging how much fuel is in your organisation’s tank

When it comes to engaging people with proactive mental health solutions, knowing their activation level, as with any other behaviour, is crucial. If we think of employee activation levels as being similar to fuel in a car, many businesses are driving without a fuel gauge, as they do not have a clear picture of what that level is.

Whilst it’s nothing new to survey your teams about mental health decline, if you don’t know where your fuel levels are at in terms of mental fitness activation, how do you know if you’re pushing your workforce too hard, and how can you know which proactive mental health solutions will be effective and engaging in sustaining mental health? A low tank would require a wholly different solution and approach than a full tank, where activation levels are high.

So, if you can provide individuals with the tools to measure their activation levels, as well as enable the business to benchmark activation levels, then you can offer genuinely effective solutions to your people, as well as measure both efficacy and ROI. Essentially, your mental fitness activation level becomes your fuel gauge, and your leadership is now able to better understand both how far the organisation is able to go, and how much its people are able to achieve, without negatively impacting wellbeing. 

To address this, Fika scientists and academics have developed the Mental Fitness Activation scale.This gives businesses and individuals a clear picture of their real-time mental fitness activation levels, as well as solutions for moving towards sustainable outcomes for positive mental fitness. Mental fitness itself is not mental health, but it is a necessary precursor to it, and a proven indicator of our abilities to thrive in the face of common workplace and personal challenges.

Raising the levels of mental fitness in an organisation then, is vital to understanding the potential for key issues such as stress-related absence, positive wellbeing and staff turnover, so that preventative solutions can be implemented to address them. 

Join our growing network of employers
Receive Make A Difference News straight to your inbox

Only if we combine improved organisational insight with providing the appropriate tools to our people, can we truly move towards tackling activation, and improving access to and engagement with proactive mental fitness solutions for all. We can then learn how and why some of our solutions have not had the desired impact, and improve uptake for a healthier, happier and more productive workplace.  

For more insight into how mental fitness is transforming workplace culture, join Fika at the Mad World Summit 2021, where:

At 11.20, Fika Co-Founder Gareth Fryer will be in conversation with Lee McNamara, Group Head of Internal Communications and Culture at DFS. Catch them in the Engagement, Culture and Talent track, discussing ‘How DFS is re-thinking mental health duty of care post-pandemic’.

Between 14.15 and 16.00 Amelia Birch, Head of Early Talent at Wiser, and Amanda McNamee, Senior Mental Fitness Scientist at Fika, will be discussing ‘Reaching hard to engage audiences. What’s an appropriate role for employers in enforcing preventative Duty of Care when it comes to Mental Health and Wellbeing?’

Fika co-Founder Nick Bennett will be hosting a 3-minute TechTalk discussing exactly what makes Fika Mental Fitness so different, and how we address both employers’ and employees’ needs in the modern workplace.

The MAD World Summit is on Thursday 21st October, in-person at 133 Houndsditch in Central London. The Summit is the go-to event for employers who want to Make A Difference to workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing. For more information visit the event agenda or to book visit the booking pageEmail



Sign up to receive Make A Difference's fortnightly round up of features, news, reports, case studies, practical tools and more for employers who want to make a difference to work culture, mental health and wellbeing.