Mental Health at Work
We should help to reduce the stigma of mental health at work as it can cause those who suffer from mental illnesses to feel alone, ashamed and uncomfortable. According to the World Health Organisation, a quarter of the world’s population will experience a mental disorder at least once in their life. In a lot of circumstances, people who suffer from mental illnesses are able to lead productive and fulfilling lives, including at work.
The Mental Health Foundation has estimated that the value of people who are working and have mental health problems is as high as £225 billion a year, to the economy. This equates to 12.1% of the UK’s GDP.
Here are some tips to reduce the stigma of mental health at work:
Promote and Engage in Mental Health at Work:
You cannot always see a person’s mental illness. However, it can still exist, for example, depression or work-related stress. Employers should, therefore, be proactive and engage in promoting mental health in the workplace. Managers should encourage employees to ask for help when they feel that work and life are unmanageable.
Educate staff by engaging in national awareness campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week [link to the blog post]. This will reduce the stigma of mental health at work. Often a person’s condition may make them feel ashamed, alone and weak. This can cause problems that add to their mental illness.
Employers and managers should ensure that they create a working environment where members of staff can speak to them about how they are feeling. By actively and non-judgementally listening, employers and colleagues can help to signpost people suffering from mental illness to the right resources.
If you need support to address the stress at work or you know someone who is, we suggest approaching the person. If they are exhibiting signs of mental illness, try listening and communicating non-judgementally. Absorb the person’s situation and try not to offer them your opinion. However, do offer them support and information on where they can get help. Also, encourage the person to get appropriate professional help and encourage other support.
Employers may not have the tools and tactics to talk to their employees about their suffering. However, it is important that they have them in place. Employers should be able to signpost employees to relevant resources such as an Employee Assistance Programme.
Employers can improve the workplace by providing appropriate resources, such as making anti-discrimination policies clear. Managers, in particular, play a pivotal role to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Employers have a duty of care to be supportive and reduce the risks of bullying in the workplace for example, by making policies clear to everyone.
Other resources include learning and development. At My Life is My Business, we provide a series of in-house courses to organisations, on how to reduce the stigma of mental health and how to administer Mental Health First Aid. You can find more information here. We want to help reduce the stigma of mental health at work and to train staff members how to recognise the signs that a work colleague may need support, such as emotional, behavioural or physical signs and help to the live fulfilling lives, particularly at work.
My Life is My Business
A summary of how to reduce stigma at work:
- Reduce the stigma of mental health at work by promoting and engaging mental health at work by participating in national campaigns, such as Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Secondly, listen non-judgementally whether you are an employee or a colleague of someone who is suffering from mental health.
- Finally, provide appropriate resources such as access to your Employee Assistance Programme, making anti-discrimination policies clear, and learning and developing to reduce the stigma of mental health at work.
In addition to in-house courses, at My Life is My Business, we also provide a series of open courses that you can find more information about here. We deliver Mental Health First Aid courses, to help individuals and teams, recognise signs of mental illness. Please get in contact with us, for more information. Read one of our testimonials here
Comment below telling us how you think employers should help to reduce the stigma of mental health at work. We’d like to know your views.