Mental Health Day #awareness

Mental health problems are very common and are on the rise. Currently 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress. It is important that employers are aware of employee's mental health and take action to aid those dealing with mental health issues.

Mental ill-health costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, through 91 million lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. It is in every organisations interest to establish ways to tackle the problem, help prevent mental health absence as well as support those with mental health illness.

The main causes of mental ill health at work:

  • excessive workload

  • poor management

  • lack of support

  • unrealistic targets

How can managers help employees?

How to approach an employee, can be a daunting thought but it doesn't need to be. Simply taking time to speak to a colleague and advising that you are there should they wish to talk is a first step to helping them improve their mental health. You will be surprised by the number of people who are willing to be open about their feelings and their concerns once they know a manager cares. You can then discuss what you can do to support them through this time. It is good for an employee to know that a manager cares and is willing to support them. Remember, not every employee is the same and the support tools that may work for one employee may not work for another - not one size fits all.

Below are 10 key signs that your employees may be suffering with mental health issues:

  1. taking more time off work than usual

  2. greater use of substances such as alcohol and drugs

  3. Increased irritability, poor concentration, reduced productivity

  4. deteriorating personal or work relationships

  5. becoming more 'emotional', moody or over-reactive to what others say

  6. starting to behave differently that's out of the norm

  7. change of eating and sleeping patterns

  8. physical reactions such as sweating, palpitations, high blood pressure

  9. feeling negative, depressed and anxious most of the time

  10. feeling trapped or frustrated and believing there is no solution

What can we do to create mentally-healthy workplaces?

Employers need to be proactive in managing the wellbeing of their staff, whether they are experiencing a problem or not. Smart employers know that companies are only as strong as their people.

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