Mental health at work

Facts about mental health

 

We all have mental health. At least 57% of UK employees have experienced mental health issues in the work place however less than half have the confidence to discuss this with their colleagues or their boss. People say that they face stigma and discrimination as result, let’s put a stop to that now.

Poor mental health in the workplace costs the UK an estimated £26billion every year. Recognising stress and mental health problems is not easy. People are more likely to call in sick to work to avoid any conversation as to how they are being affected. This includes emotional, psychological and social-wellbeing.

Employees may take time off for odd reasons, be unproductive or unhappy at work which can be sign of poor mental health. The most important part is doing something about it and as an employer this can be exceptionally tricky. The best way to approach you colleague or employee is to start a dialogue. As a result, people who feel good, listened to and appreciated often work productively interact well with colleagues and will make valuable contributions to the workplace.

Mental Health First Aid Tips

 

  • Be approachable, available and encourage conversation
  • Choose a good and appropriate place to have a conversation. Often outside of the work place such as a nearby cafe can the best place to strike a conversation about mental health. It is less intimidating and less pressurised
  • Ensure you give people plenty of time to answer and ensure you are supportive
  • Be aware of your body language trying to ensure you are portraying an open body language for reassurance

Spotting the signs of ill mental health

 

Not everyone who experiences mental health will exhibit obvious signs. The earlier the signs are caught and steps are taken to prevent development the easier the treatment. You should never make assumptions however some of the signs are below:

  • Increase in calling in sick, absence and/or turning up late
  • Any dramatic changes to their usual behaviour, mood or communications
  • Altered appetite, increase in drinking and/or smoking

Stigma remains the biggest barrier

 

Stigma remains the biggest barrier stopping people getting the support and help they need. Ignorance about the prevalence of mental health helps to fuel this stigma associated with mental health conditions. We should promote positive mental health in the workplace and provide support processes for staff that experience mental ill health.

Mind is the leading mental health organisation and have amazing support for all and any mental health. In the workplace they promote creating something called a Wellness Action Plans. This has been extremely successful and it helps to identify the following:

  • Triggers, symptoms and early warning signs
  • How mental ill health may impact performance
  • What support the employee will need from their manager

This practical approach outlines the basics and ensures it doesn’t escalate further. It is always much better to try and resolve concerns at an early stage; arrange meetings as soon as possible and approach conversation in a positive and supportive manner.

If mental health is something that is affecting your work or you are a manager concerned for an employee or colleague then don’t be afraid to speak out. There are so many useful guides, hints and tips for management, support and guidance. See https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/useful-resources/


 Blog written by: Amy Noon, HR Recruitment Consultant at Williams Kent Ltd
9th February 2018

 

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