Mental Health in the Workplace
With uncertainty making its way into just about everything we do at the moment, Mental Health Awareness week is more important than ever, especially within the workplace. For those who are working remotely, being in isolation and worrying about the current climate can be a big trigger for those of us with anxiety. For our key workers who are still leaving the house for work every day, it can take a huge mental toll. On top of that, we’re constantly thinking about whether those we love are safe as well as trying to perform our best at our jobs. So, is enough really being done to ensure measures are in place to protect our employees’ mental health?
It affects more people than you think.
To talk about why this is such a big issue, it’s important to look at how many people are affected. According to reports, there were “602,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19 in Great Britain.” That is a huge amount of people experiencing mental health issues as a result of work.
So why are we still not talking about it? Well, there are more stats to consider, such as the fact that “9% of employees who disclosed mental health issues to their line manager reported being disciplined, dismissed or demoted.” While this number has actually been decreasing year by year, the fact that there is still a number at all is why Mental Health Awareness week is so important.
Mental Health is still a taboo.
People still feel as though they are unable to talk about their personal wellbeing at work. Most people who take a sick day as a result of work-related stress will usually give a different reason to their managers as to why. You might have even done it yourself.
In a world where Social Media is more powerful than ever, we scroll for hours and hours looking at our peers “perfect lives” — it’s even considered brave when someone posts something in contrast. Which brings me to a word which is all too common nowadays, and that’s stigma. If you Google ‘stigma’, the phrase “What is stigma in mental health?” actually comes up as one of the most searched terms.
People viewing those with mental health issues negatively is not at all uncommon but absolutely needs to be addressed. This stigma can be the cause of people feeling as though they are unable to talk to their peers or seek out the help they need.
Can we do anything?
The answer is, yes of course! There’s so much to be done to start a conversation around mental health in the workplace. First of all, having the right support “can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year.” That’s huge! But more importantly, being able to speak out about personal wellbeing will lead to happier and healthier employees.
Many companies now have dedicated Mental Health Ambassadors for employees to talk to about their issues or concerns. Having a dedicated someone removes the supposed stigma that comes with talking about mental health at work. Rather, it encourages it without the fear of something negative as a result.
It is also encouraged for all managers to have mental health training as most managers say that being able to support mental wellbeing is actually a core skill. If you’re unsure where to start, mind.org offer training courses for any staff members in understanding mental health at work and how to manage it.
Come join the discussion on mental health
We’re hosting a discussion about working remotely and how it is affecting companies as well as how it is affecting our own mental wellbeing. If you’d like to join in, you can do so here.
If you can’t make it, let us know what sort of measures your company has in place to support mental wellbeing. Let’s start a conversation!
If you ever need help, always remember to talk to someone, even if you can’t at work. Checkpoint has a global list of resources for wherever you may be in the world.