Mental Health and the Workplace

Whether it’s financial pressure, relationships, your job, health or any other factor that can bring on a sense of heaviness, life has its way of getting to us.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, and the nation is standing together to raise awareness - supporting those who suffer, or have suffered, with challenges and pressures regarding their emotional wellbeing.

Lasting until Sunday 20th May, the cause is promoting the fact that those who suffer are not alone and shouldn’t have to carry the weight without any help.

The main focus this year is stress and how we cope with it - around two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our life, and stress contributes hugely to this.

Most of us are tried and tested on a daily basis. We’ve all experienced stress or anxiety at some point in our lives and will do again. We try to ‘shake it off’ or ‘snap out of it’, but sometimes, it's easier said than done - it can turn into something more serious and affect us in ways that we might not even be aware of.

 

Work and Psychological Strain

According to Mental health organisation, Mind, work is the biggest cause of stress – even more so than money-related issues! Employees are experiencing high levels of stress on a daily basis, and it seriously affects them - both physically and mentally.

The charity conducted a survey with over 2000 people, finding that around:

  • 57% drink alcohol after work to relieve stress and pressure, while 14% drink during the working day.
  • 56% of managers said they wanted to do more to help the wellbeing of staff, but didn’t feel they had sufficient training in how to approach it.
  • 46% of managers said that approaching and managing stress wasn’t a priority in their workplace.
  • 19% take a day off work because of stress.
  • 19% of employees felt they couldn’t tell their boss about feeling too stressed.
  • 9% have left their job because of stress.
  • 1 in 6 workers is experiencing depression, stress or anxiety at work.

These results were collated in 2013 - but with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem every year and with it existing as a more open topic, many of those figures are likely to be higher today.

For many of us, work is where we spend most of our time – so what should we do if we’re unhappy or struggling to keep up with the daily fight?

We have to talk and get support – there’s plenty of it to go around and people are willing to sit and listen. If you feel unable to talk to anyone close to you, then believe in the kindness of strangers!

 

Approaching Mental Health

By law, employers have a ‘duty of care’ to you – that means making sure you’re protected and safe in the workplace from things such as slips, trips and falls or industrial deafness, for example.

However, when it comes to mental health, things can be a little hazy. So many employers feel that they don’t know how to approach the subject when it comes to their employees, or they feel that they don’t have proper guidelines to follow for dealing with it.

Mind states that 3 in 5 people thought they would feel more loyal, motivated and committed to their job role if their employer took measures to support the emotional wellbeing of their staff.

Employers and all professionals are being urged by charities such as Mind to sign up to training courses, such as webinars that are free or even downloading pdf guides, to learn how to create a mentally healthy working environment and how to support employees who may be struggling psychologically.

If you know of somebody suffering in your workplace, don’t be afraid to ask your employer to take action either! They’d be happy that you felt you could go to them for help.

Likewise, if you know someone who is an employer – share our article with them and raise awareness. It’s all about looking out for one another!

 

Seeking Support Elsewhere

For those who feel like they can’t or don’t want to approach their employer, there is always help outside the workplace.

There are so many local organisations who work hard to help people suffering with mental health issues like depression, stress and anxiety.

Another organisation that promotes awareness and provides support is JOCA (Just One Click Away). Before it was established, members of this group tragically lost three members of their rugby team to suicide. After this, they raised money for mental health charities. Their organisation has grown and they’ve continued to offer support, guidance and someone to talk to during the tough times.

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They are a welcoming organisation who host events and provide services to anyone and everyone willing to ask for and show support - again, harnessing the idea that we really can all work together!

Finding local support can really be one click away. With so many people experiencing mental health problems, you certainly won’t be alone - take that first brave step of getting in touch with someone today.

If you know of someone who's struggling, why not explore the options available yourself and go along with them?

 

Tips for Reducing Stress Levels in the Workplace

If you’re an employer reading this, take Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to talk to your staff about the subject and take stress management on board. They’d be really grateful for it!

Some useful tips for coping with stress are:

  • Noticing that you’re stressed. This is is actually really important and one of the first ways of dealing with it. Only when you’re aware of it, then you can look to deal with it and seek help from others.
  • Talk to your employer – explain what makes you stressed and together you can work out solutions for reducing it.
  • Keep each task as short as you can, or for any longer tasks, make sure you take breaks when you’re feeling tired – go outside for two minutes to get a breath of fresh air!
  • Many people have different methods for dealing with stress – it won’t happen overnight and it may take some time to find what works for you. The Stress Management Society is a website full of different techniques and useful resources for managing mental health - take a look!
  • The meditation app Headspace has worked wonders for one of our staff members at Cute Injury – it’s a super simple way of meditating and only takes up 10 minutes of your day! It’s not an instant fix, but it really teaches you how to cope with mental health issues and helps you see things in a new light.
  • If you’re not already doing so, make sure you look after yourself physically. Doing so has a great impact on how you feel and really makes a difference to your mental state. Try doing some exercise straight after work or before you start your day – it will help you switch off and focus your mind on something else; something more positive.

These are some simple ways you can try right now for managing any issues you might have. Take a look at Mind’s website for more information (you can also download their free resources) or put ‘managing mental health’ into Google for some great search results!

In this digital age, we really are swimming in help and advice. Why not take a look at what other people have written on their own mental health-related experiences?

Getting help for mental health problems can really be no stress - during this Mental Health Awareness Week and thinking forward, try to remain positive, friendly and supportive to those around you! People may be struggling even though it’s not obvious in any way.

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