Workplace mental health training for managers

On paper or in reality, well-being and mental health are becoming priorities for many companies nowadays. 
But when it comes to giving managers the right knowledge and tools, surveys show that very few are properly trained to handle what is now expected of them.
A September 2023 survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (a British association for human resource management professionals) shows the highest number of the last decade in workplace absence (7.8 days), finding stress to be a significant factor in 76% of the cases. (source:
Based on these data, the CIPD is urging companies now, more than ever, to promote a healthier culture with a mental health and well-being focus.
The post-COVID world has seen more businesses take mental health in the workplace seriously, however, what is needed are more preventive and systematic approaches which are still slow to be put in place. 
It is then surprising to read how few managers are properly trained when they are the first in line when it comes to prevention and support. 
One could argue that every good manager should be expected to be a good listener, to know how to communicate and delegate, to resolve conflicts, and to bring solutions.
But all of these are usually about the goal or KPIs and rarely about personal problems. Not everyone is naturally skilled to handle the types of conversations mental health issues can bring up.
Like any other task, if you expect your team to deliver, you need to make sure they have the right tools and knowledge. That is why regular mental health training for managers should become normalized.

So why are managers not properly trained?

It usually all comes down to three things:
  • lack of time, which can also be an unwillingness from the leadership team to prioritize mental health on the agenda 
  • lack of resources 
  • lack of awareness: either that this topic is essential for the prosperity of the company in the long run, or that managers need specific training. Or both.
one on one online training

What is mental health training for managers

As mentioned, we are not equally equipped when it comes to dealing with mental health issues, our own and other people’s.  As a manager in a company, it is expected that you can handle specific situations and understand and support your employees in their well-being and mental health journey in the workplace.
The goals of these trainings are twofold:
  • put well-being at the center of the manager’s leadership approach
  • make sure managers can be consistent in their approach to mental health 

What does it entail?

There are a lot of options, and it depends on the setup of your company. If you have an in-house psychologist, for example, or if you do not have an HR department, you will have different needs, demands, and costs. Nowadays, most pieces of training can be done online. They can take from a couple of hours to a full day, and they will often deliver some kind of certificate and wordbook of resources. If you are looking for an external entity to provide this training, we highly recommend that you rely on certified and recognized institutions in your country.
Overall, the goal of workplace mental health training for managers is to equip them with the tools, knowledge, and empathy needed to support their team members’ mental health while fostering a workplace culture that prioritizes well-being.
Among other skills, managers should be able to identify signs of mental health issues among their team members, such as changes in behavior or productivity. But also educate them about common misconceptions and how stigma can negatively affect individuals to foster a more supportive environment. It is also essential to focus on empathetic communication, knowing how to provide guidance, and where to find resources. Managers should be made aware of the importance of caring for their mental health. 
group in person training

What will your manager get away with?

Learning and development functions and activities are pivotal in almost any organisations. Perhaps a lesser focus of these has been on training managers to embrace and lead mental health cultures in their organisation. Good training led by mental health professionals will lead to:
  • a better understanding of why this is important, not just for the individual but for the company too
  • the ability to identify the most common mental health issues 
  • confidence in having conversations about the topic and destigmatise it
  • knowledge of where to find appropriate resources
  • The capacity to implement their own healthier routines to become a role model 
Any professional service provider knows these angles and can help HR organisation to advocate for and evangelise these topics in the company. So does Siffi.
The mental health landscape is ever-evolving and such training can not be a one-time thing but must be regularly organised and updated to make sure new managers are aligned with the company’s values and regulations and that senior managers are up-to-date with new research and resources.