Bringing mental health to work

Illustration  Ravi Jadhav

This year, World Mental Health Day is focusing on mental health in the workplace.

Publishing its inaugural survey on World Mental Health Day (10 October), the study pushes forward the argument that focusing on the wellbeing of staff is in investors' interests, with sick days and lost productivity costing billions of pounds each year. These include improving NHS mental health provision to better assist employers and employees alike and increasing provision of mental health support and advice, for both employers themselves and in relation to their support for employees, within Growth Hubs. The business has also signed the Time to Change pledge, a growing movement which aims to support and change how people think and act about mental health, making sure that employees who are facing problems feel supported.

"In recent years there's been nothing short of a cultural revolution in our willingness to be open about mental ill health, which is an essential pre-condition to people getting help, but it's one that may well have left many older people behind", said Caroline Abrahams, Age UK director.

Do think about some of these common issues faced by people with mental health problems include finding it harder to concentrate, getting exhausted more easily, making mistakes, struggling to make decisions, or excessively worrying about their performance, deadlines and work load.

Organizations need to understand the importance of mental health.

He proposed that employers at each organisation take into account the risks of stress and psychosocial aspects of employment, and implement plans to reduce psychosocial risk so that employees can play a role in creating a healthy work environment.

To date, more than 206,000 people in England have trained in mental health first aid. This is despite 84 per cent of employers acknowledging their responsibility to staff mental wellbeing and 91 per cent of managers agreeing that what they do can affect their staff's mental health. Organizations like NAMI, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Treatment Advocacy Center, The Trevor Project and Mental Health America are just a few doing really great things.

An insurance law firm has appointed 19 "mental health first aiders" who will provide support and guidance for colleagues. He was recently quoted in the British Medical Journal saying there is a danger that awareness campaigns are making people "too aware" of mental health problems.

There are many effective actions that organizations can take to promote mental health in the workplace; such actions may also benefit productivity.

Reclaim will continue to be a powerful, student-led initiative, tackling the stigma of mental health within our community but also taking a step towards asking universities, communal bodies and schools to make practical commitments on these issues.

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