Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 - Mental Health in the Workplace 101 May 13, 2019Views: 130
s the 13th – 19th May marked in your office calendar? Mental Health Awareness week 2019 is an important date for the diary. Why?
It’s the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health issues and to promote a call to action to end the stigma.
Fellow colleagues and employees health, both mental and physical, should be supported to encourage and maintain a positive working environment. After all, happy, healthy staff means a happy, healthy business!
As Richard Branson rightly said; “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” and with stress being the 2nd biggest cause of occupational ill health, tackling the issue of mental health problems, supporting staff and employees is paramount for their wellbeing.
How to support the mental wellbeing of your colleagues and employees:
30% of staff do not feel that they can openly talk about stress in their workplace and 56% of employers want to help improve staff wellbeing, but don’t feel that they have the right level of training to do so. We are evidently at a crossroads; employees and staff want help, but feel like they cannot approach a senior authority, whereas the senior authority want to support their staffs’ wellbeing, but do not feel that they are able to.
Build a bridge between both sides by incorporating a number of ways that enable management and employers to support employees’ mental health both in and out of the workplace:
Dismiss the taboo!
Is there is still a stigma surrounding mental health in your workplace?
A blog published on the Time to Change website by a mental health support worker concludes that society is seeing an improvement in attitudes towards mental illnesses, but there is a still long way to go to “eradicate the discrimination and stigma.
You can eliminate the taboo in your workplace by starting a conversation and signing up to a credible mental health service (such as MIND) to help provide support for sufferers. Through introducing this, you’re showing your support and creating a safer work environment. As a result, you’ll build respect and trust from staff and employees, helping them to become more open about their silent battle against mental health issues.
Get to know your team and check in regularly.
As Richard Branson pointed out, the key to a successful business is its staff. The bottom line is that you can’t always tell if someone is suffering in silence, but sometimes there are subtle indications that can be noticed.
People who are experiencing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can be more sensitive to the work environment; such as comments and the atmosphere, and may portray a negative attitude.
According to MIND, there are a number of stress symptoms that can be linked to other mental health issues. Some of them are:
- Feeling irritable, aggressive or anxious
- Constantly worrying
- Nail biting/skin picking
- Unable to concentrate
Take time to think about your wording.
Communication is key in all businesses and the wording is crucial. It’s super easy to type a short and simple email when you’re in a rush without thinking about the impact it may have on the recipient.
Take a moment to think about how you’re coming across in your communications before you send them out. For example:
"Need to talk to you ASAP about your marketing campaign, not doing as well as it should be. Meeting room in 10 minutes."
If someone reading that suffers from anxiety, this could send them into a panic because they could presume the worst, especially as ‘your’ insinuates that the blame is entirely on them. Whereas:
Would you mind popping into the meeting room in 10 minutes to discuss our marketing campaign, please? Let’s evaluate its progress so far and we can work together to tweak it if need be.
Thank you "
This approach is less assertive and suggests that there’s a problem without appointing blame, as well as offering a solution.
Some need-to-know facts about mental health in the workplace:
- 1 in 6 employees are currently battling a mental health condition.
- 30% of staff do not feel that they can openly talk about stress to their manager.
- 56% of employers want to help improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel that they have the right training.
- Around 12.7% of sickness days are because of mental health issues.
- The second biggest cause of occupational ill health is stress.
- By providing better mental health support, UK businesses can save up to £8 billion a year.
A man was on a train with his group of friends and began to loudly tell them (and the whole carriage) about his past experiences and how he battled with symptoms of schizophrenia.
He went on to say about how he turned his life around after receiving the support and medication he needed.
When he left the train he asked his friend if he was being a bit too loud and making the other passengers uncomfortable, to which his friend replied, “Well, if everyone on the train had been discussing their mental health problems openly; that would be the end of the stigma!”
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