Mental Health at Work

Blog by Claire Sherwood

There has been a lot of focus over the last few years regarding mental health and especially mental health in the workplace…something that has been ignored for years previously now seems be to be coming into the limelight.

But what is mental health?  What does it mean?  Who does it involve? …Well, in short, everyone.

Everyone at some point in their lives will be affected by mental health issues, whether that be via our emotional, psychological, or social well-being. The likelihood then of it affecting employees at any one time, is high. Mental health issues impact our ability on how we see things, how we cope with stress, how we relate to others and how we make choices

Mental Health issues can affect everyone very differently, depending on their trigger/s…the trigger is the switch. The trigger can be anything from moving house, having a child, suffering a bereavement or just coping with life in general and feelings can range from being just a little down to common disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Ok, so why is it so important to keep a check on your employees and to ensure you are homing a culture of everyone being able and comfortable to talk about ‘feeling not quite right’…

A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. The study found that:

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues

  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks

  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate

  • 62% take longer to do tasks

  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

The study also found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in workers.

So, it is important to take this seriously and ensure you are creating a workspace where everyone can thrive, or the consequences could have a serious impact on your business.

Without the right environment, people have a fear of discrimination and feelings of shame, that they can’t cope with life which adds to their distress.

When a workplace is created where everyone can be themselves, this diminishes the fear and shame, making it easier for people to talk about their issues without the fear of retribution or ridicule.

Mental Health can sometime be described as an ‘invisible’ illness…it’s sometimes something you just can’t see in others, but just because they don’t look ill doesn’t mean they aren’t…

There are countless case studies on how mental health has gone unnoticed, take the time to ask those around you if they’re OK.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1900