Mental Health at Work
Mental health problems have become more and more frequent both in day to day life and also work life. It is thought that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, with 1 in 6 people reporting experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week, according to Mind charity.
It is thought that while the number of people suffering from mental health issues has not risen significantly within the last few years, the pressure of finances, jobs and benefits are increasing the difficulty of being able to cope.
Following this, a recent survey of 44,000 people carried out by Mind discovered that poor mental health affects half of all employees. However instead of trying to seek support the majority of people did not do anything about the way that they were feeling, with only half of those who had experienced a problem with stress, anxiety or low mood having talked to their employer about it. This is a worrying statistic as leaving mental health issues unresolved can lead to serious problems and therefore this must change and the stigma of mental health must be eradicated.
The reason why people may not talk about their mental health issues can never be 100% confirmed, however, it is believed that fear, shame and job insecurity are all huge factors when people weigh up the decision of whether to talk about their mental health problems.
A case study on mental health issues in the workplace carried out by the BBC found the example of Natalie Hunt, a 34-year-old woman from Salford. Natalie got her first job at 18, working in a department store which involved serving customers which she found extremely stressful. Natalie stated that the full-time job made her feel extremely anxious and had detrimental effects upon her such as becoming more withdrawn and shy, going more and more into herself and that eventually turned to the worry of having a panic attack at work.
Having mental issues can be difficult at work as it often provides people with additional worries about job security if they raise the issue with their employers. In the case study that Natalie provided she described her employer of not really understanding or knowing what to do in the situation and this meant that there was “no support”.
The problem of mental health doesn’t just stop with the lack or inconsistent support for employees throughout the UK, Mind states that around 300,000 people lose their job each year due to having a mental health problem. Therefore a network of support is needed throughout the UK in order to combat the problem of employees losing their jobs due to a mental health issue.
Some steps have already been taken by Mind along with The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations in order to provide an online support network for people suffering with mental health issues. The online network provides employers and employees with information, advice, resources and training that workplaces can use to improve well-being. The training element comes after a recent poll by the Institute of Directors which found that less than 1 in five businesses offered mental health training for managers.
The survey also found that poor relationships with line managers along with workloads, have the most negative impact on an employees’ mental health – closely followed by poor relationships with colleagues. Therefore it is vital from the very beginning that the onboarding process is thorough.
For more advice on mental health within the workplace watch https://t.co/DEbyuiU8WG
If you have any questions regarding what has been written in this blog then please do not hesitate to contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932