It’s national ‘Time to Talk’ day. A day dedicated to encouraging conversations about Mental health.
Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.”
Mental health conditions include stress, depression, anxiety and rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Everyone has mental health. Some people have good mental health and some people have poor mental health. Just like our physical health, we need to take care of our mental health.
Mental health is being talked about more and more, especially as we are still living through a global pandemic which has not only heightened, but sadly, in some cases, caused poor mental health.
Did you know…
- 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
- Suicide is now the biggest killer of men under 50.
- More than half (55%) of all working days lost due to ill health over the past 12 months were due to work-related stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
- Mental health related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness absence in UK workplaces.
Physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. If you take care of your physical health by eating well, sleeping well and exercising regularly, then your mental health is likely to improve, as you feel better about yourself.
A healthy, happy workforce is crucial to the success of a business, as it will reduce absenteeism and turnover and increase productivity and engagement. So, what can you do to protect the mental wellbeing of your most important asset?
Signs to look out for which may indicate that someone is struggling with their mental health:
- Working long hours/ working through their lunch break
- Tiredness (yawning or drinking more coffee than usual)
- Increased lateness/absenteeism
- Not joining in with office conversations
- Lack of interest in their work
- Failing to meet deadlines
- Short-tempered and/or irritable
- Changes in mood
- Disruptive behaviour
- More accident prone than usual
Ideas to support anyone struggling with their mental health:
- Open conversations – make it the norm. Ask ‘how are you’ and when you receive ‘fine’, ask ‘how are you’ again. Asking twice is more likely to get the real answer if someone isn’t really ‘fine’!
- Listen to understand. You’re not a qualified Mental Health Counsellor, and that is ok, no-one is expecting you to be. You also don’t have to provide a solution, sometimes, people just want to be heard and know that you’re listening so you can understand their situation and empathise.
- Know what in-house services you offer and promote them (Employee Assistance Programmes and Occupational Health referrals through HR).
- Be aware of external sources and promote them too (NHS, Mind.org, Samaritans).
- Allow employee’s time off to attend any appointments. Follow up with them on their return, ask how it went and is there anything you as their Manager/employer can do to help them?
- Provide engaging training for all staff (including Managers) – A recent study led by Lancet Psychiatry found that mental health training programmes lead to a significant reduction in work-related sickness absence, with an associated return on investment of £9.98 for each pound spent on such training!
- Make ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ as much of a priority as ‘Fire Marshalls’ and ‘First Aiders!’
Get in touch with our HR Specialist to find out how they can help you start the conversation and make talking about mental health part of your company’s culture.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0161 478 3800