Did you know, One in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year. This can have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in the UK, and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day.
615 million people suffer from anxiety or depression.
1 in 4 people will experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem.
The number of people who are affected by mental health is rising. In 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety worldwide – these numbers rose to 615 million in 2013 (World Health Organisation, 2016).
Current figures state that each year in Britain an estimated one in four adults will experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem, though only 230 of every 300 who need help will visit their GP.
Mental illness is extremely common and exists in different forms, each of which can have an adverse effect on your well-being.
Mental health problems at work are common. At least one in six workers is experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
There is such a negative stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace and I have seen first-hand, people genuinely concerned about telling an employer about a mental health problem out of fear they will be sacked, or, not hired. How if this fair? As a country we want to support the unemployed back in to work, yet the battle then is to keep them in work because employers are as helpful as chocolate teapots when it comes to supporting their employees and are more focused on how to rid them from the business.
Statistics show the cost of work days taken because of mental health, they do not reflect the cost on our society to keep up the out of work benefits!!!
I hear on so many occasions, managers criticizing staff for being “too sensitive” or being told to “get over it” Overhearing conversations in the tea rooms about individuals, mocking their mental health and questioning the genuineness of people’s difficulties. Mental Health issues do not affect a certain age, race, gender or class. It affects anyone at ANYTIME.
It is easy to forget, that sometimes, acknowledging someone when they are doing a good job is what gets them through the day. When an employee is feeling worthless, they feel nothing they do is good enough. You regularly see them working through their lunch breaks, staying late and trying their best to impress which ultimately just results in the individual procrastinating, being less productive and becoming more anxious. And, just to think… just talking to someone could have been all they needed.
You might not be talking about it, because mental health is still a taboo subject. And many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work.
Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed man (19.8% vs 10.9%).
Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
Better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year.
There is convincing evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
- Try to do something different today and make a connection.
- Talk to someone instead of sending an email
- Speak to someone new
- Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
- Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
- Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.
- Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savoring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.
- Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.
- Get a plant for your work-space
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
- Take a different route on your journey to or from work
- Visit a new place for lunch.
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.
The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.
Why not learn something new today?
- Find out something about your colleagues
- Sign up for a class
- Read the news or a book
- Set up a book club
- Do a crossword or Sudoku
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Learn an unfamiliar word.
- Top tips for staying well at work
Reclaim your lunch break Why not make the most of that precious hour – or half hour – by trying some of these suggestions…
- Organise a picnic
- Take advantage of the summer sun and make the most of clean air and tasty food with your colleagues.
- Hold a group activity
- If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energized for an afternoon of productive work.
- Take up a challenge
- Local sponsored walks or marathons are a wonderful way to keep active. Sign with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks. Participating as part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge. You could even support Mind’s work by signing up to one of our running events.
Whistle while you work
If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.
When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones you can focus easier on the task at hand.
Listen to your favorite song as a simple treat to yourself. Rewarding yourself is a great way for your general well being, giving you some added motivation so you can better tackle a big workload.
Get the work-life balance right
We know you’ll have times when you need to work overtime to meet deadlines, but try to make this the exception not the norm. Long hours mean you may be working harder, but not better – they’ll quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health.
Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to then close the door on work.
Write a to do list. At the end of each day, go over your list and write up one for the next day, when your thoughts are down on paper, you’ll find it easier to not think about work.
Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work – Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions can really help you to switch off.
If you feel your workload is spiraling out of control, take opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can’t resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.
I strongly believe employers must now act to support their staff instead of ridiculing them. It can be so simple… Some management are just plain ignorant and, well, shouldn’t be in management. Mental Health won’t go away… it is discrimination. Fact.
Research confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:
- More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
- 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance
If you are a manager in your work place and need some guidance around supporting staff members who do struggle with mental health, take a look at;
Starting a conversation about mental health can be rather daunting but there are a few questions to try when bringing this up:
- How are you doing at the moment?
- You seem a bit down / upset / under pressure / frustrated / angry. Is everything OK?
- I’ve noticed you’ve been arriving late recently and I wondered if you’re OK.
- I’ve noticed the reports are late when they’re usually on time. Is everything OK?
- Is there anything I can do to help?
- What would you like to happen? How?
- What support do you think might help?
- Have you spoken to your GP or looked for help anywhere else?
Would you know what to do when an employee discloses a mental health problem????? Employers have a legal obligation to support and consider reasonable adjustments for an employee and to prevent personal injury.
You should focuses on:
- avoiding making assumptions
- embedding confidentiality
- encouraging people to talk
- responding flexibly
- seeking advice if you need to.
Managers and their member of staff may find it useful to put in place a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) which outlines:
- what the signs and symptoms of the mental health problem in the member of staff may be
- what the triggers may be and what support can be offered
- who should be contacted in event of a crisis.
When employers are aware of health or disability information about an individual, they have a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments as well as a general duty of care and responsibility for employee health and preventing personal injury.
Making reasonable adjustments can often be straightforward and low cost and comes down to treating the member of staff as an individual. Some of these are listed below:
- allowing an employee time off to attend medical appointments
- modifying a job description to take away tasks that cause particular difficulty
- offering flexibility in working hours/patterns, i.e. reduced hours or working from home
- transfer of workplace
- social or cognitive support
- providing support to overcome barriers to returning to the workplace.
I feel it is vital that people know their rights when it comes to mental health and employment. Unfortunately, mental health coincides with bullying/harassment in the work place way too often and ultimately, individuals feeling they have been pushed out of the business and too frightened to take action on colleagues or managers behavior because they either do not know where they stand or because they do not have the confidence to act. Bullying is never acceptable and if you standby and watch it happen, then you are no better than the bully themselves.