10th October is World Mental Health Day and this year the focus is on “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention”.
Every day is an opportunity to promote these messages but collectively we can use World Mental Health Day day as a chance to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.
The day recognises that more can be done by organisations to address mental health stigma in the workplace, and introduce new and targeted activities anchored to the event and highlight the work already being done to combat this.
Recent research conducted by the mental health charity Mind* confirmed that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:
- More than one in five (21%) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 14% agreed that they had resigned and 42% had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 30% of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
- 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance
What can we do to help?
The first point of call is to create an open line of communication in the workplace.
Harbour an environment where stress and concerns can be aired in a healthy way that doesn’t pass judgement and works with the person to resolve/manage their mental health.
Responding to concerns over talking openly with line managers, companies should have alternative lines of communication. This year, Sphere introduced an external helpline that is available to all employees and their immediate families.
Work with your employees to discover ways that work for them: work from home days, mental health days, time away from the desk. Whatever it might be, opening up conversations and encouraging feedback can move us in the right direction when it comes to a healthier workplace.
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