In the UK an estimated 91 million workdays are lost every year due to mental health problems and the ongoing pandemic has unfortunately been a catalyst in increasing stress and anxiety.
Our pioneering mental initiative This is Me aims to change attitudes towards mental health in the workplace by reducing stigma, dispelling myths and raising awareness to improve employee wellbeing.
Since its inception in 2016, over 1,200 organisations across the UK and internationally have registered for This is Me and made a commitment to ending the stigma in their workplaces.
On the 9th March we will launch our This is Me 2022 campaign and we are delighted that Paul Farmer, CEO, Mind will be chairing the event for us. Ahead of our launch Paul took some time to answer some questions around the importance of good mental health.
Why is It so important for workplaces to talk openly about mental health?
Stigma around mental health brings up barriers so people who could have had early intervention don’t get help until they are at crisis point. Research found that 1 in 6 people in the workplace will experience stress / depression / anxiety in any given year. Being open boosts inclusivity, moral and allows people to bring whole self to work as well as a more productive workforce. Put simply, mental health at work is just as important as it is at home, or anywhere else. Humans love to mentally compartmentalise, keeping our work and private lives separate. However, while this approach sounds logical, it’s not how our brains are wired. Issues at home can deplete our personal resources, making it more difficult when work demands increase. Workplace issues will spill into our personal lives, and this could worsen our mental health.
What can businesses do to help improve their employee’s mental health?
It is important to develop a preventative approach and drive cultural change. Understand your people and take a person-centred approach taking account of the intersectionality between mental health and other issues. In a work capacity make sure there are forums and ways that staff can share their experiences and shape the organisational strategy, carrying out regular interviews with employees to talk about mental health can help highlight improvements. Flexibility in terms of ways of working, communication preferences, benefits package etc is also something that can benefit employee’s mental health. Businesses should also develop an effective employee wellbeing strategy, for guidance you could consider the Mental Health At Work commitment charter available on their website.
What are the biggest challenges that 2022 brings to businesses around mental health?
The main issues we see is being adaptable and flexible to meet your people’s individual wellbeing needs. There is anxiety around return to the workplace whether this is about commuting financial challenges, physical safety or social distancing. The other main anxiety is around the transition to hybrid working, where people are concerned about loss of work-life balance, apprehension around changes in practice, apprehension for long term remote working, concerns around progression and loss of autonomy.
What one thing should individuals do to boost their mental health?
Consider bringing the five ways to wellbeing outlined below;
- Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. …
- Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. …
- Learn new skills. …
- Give to others. …
- Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Our launch event takes place on 9th March at Mansion House from 8:30am – 10:30am, it is free to attend, and you hear top tips and experiences from our business speakers on how to deliver This is Me in your workplace and the impact it can make for your organisation, improving employee wellbeing for good.
Alongside Paul Farmer speakers include Paulette Cohen, Barclays, Paul Rennie, GSK, Kate McAusland, LSEG, Emily Rostamlou, AQA, and Paula Bellostas Muguerza, Kearney.
Register at: www.eventbrite.co.uk