In recent years, the reporting of mental health has increased with more people speaking openly about different conditions, such as The Royals’ Heads Together campaign, and more organisations are creating awareness like Lloyds’ 2018 advert on mental illness.
In 2017, there were 5821 suicides registered in the UK with males accounting for three quarters of suicides. This shows the lowest decline since records began in 1981 and also indicates the progressive impact of current campaigns to raise awareness around suicide. This is a positive step in the right direction, however there is still much to do when it comes to the stigma around mental health and knowing the correct steps to providing help. We believe that workplaces have a large role to play when it comes to creating healthy and happy environments for workers.
How Mental Health is Effecting the Workplace
Mental stress needs to be seen as serious as physical health, as without proper support in the workplace (an environment most employees typically spend 8 hours of their day) workers can face poorer wellbeing and health.
Mental health conditions can occur for a number of reasons, whether it’s a stress-induced workload or personal circumstances, such as financial issues or death in the family. At some point in a person’s working life, they may face one of these circumstances so it is important the correct strategies are in place.
Poor mental health can impact the workplace two ways:
Absenteeism: As it stands, mental health issues have resulted in 91 million working days lost in the UK.
Presenteeism: This is when someone who is ill goes into work, but understandably they are less focused and unable to do their workload. At large, this costs the UK economy 15.1 billion.
Since mental health has been seen as a taboo subject in the past, there are a lot of misconceptions about different conditions and it doesn’t help that certain mental illnesses get bad press. It’s important that you promote a healthy workplace, such as ensuring there is a correct work-life balance and putting in place the right process when someone has ill mental health.
It’s also important to have a couple of people in your workplace who have a wider understanding about mental health and know what skills are needed to help. It’s even better if line managers have mental health awareness training, as they should be the first people to notice if something is wrong.
Mental Health First Aiders
A Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) is a great asset to a company, as they can offer support when a person is enduring mental stress. Mental Health First Aiders work well with a company that already has clear processes, mental health policies and actively promotes a healthy workplace culture.
The Mental Health First Aid course has been around for the past ten years and is offered by charities such as Mind. This can help your workplace by ensuring you have staff members who understand how certain illnesses manifest, it gives them the confidence on how to approach colleagues with the right support and, if needed, point them to the correct professionals. This course doesn’t make Mental Health First Aiders medical professionals, but it is beneficial for early intervention, especially if a person is thinking of suicide.
For people who have a mental health condition that is long-term, they may benefit from having workplace needs assessment, which can evaluate the day-to-day tasks in their job role.
At Iansyst, we look at finding the correct solution that is tailored toward the individual. This can involve offering organisation strategies, implementing assistive technology or offering workplace coaching, which can help them with conditions such as social anxiety.
If you would like more information on workplace assessments and coaching, please get in contact with a member of our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 01223 420 101.
Do you have Mental Health First Aiders in your workplace? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and remember to subscribe to our workplace newsletter!