As we I am sure you already know, one in every four people will experience some kind of mental health problem each year.
But probably more alarmingly, nine out of 10 of those people will experience stigma and discrimination because of it.
This is often particularly prevalent in the work place, so this year’s World Mental Health Day (10th October) was focusing on mental health in the workplace.
Why Mental Health In The Workplace?
Here are some statics for you from Time To Change:
- 1 in 6 workers experience stress, low mood or poor mental health.
- Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year.
- 95% of employees calling in sick with stress gave a different reason.
- 42% have considered resigning due to workplace stress.
We all get stressed or low sometimes (even our colleagues who seem to be on top of everything!) But people also often experience more serious mental health problems while working, and too many of them feel unable to reach out to their colleagues and speak truthfully about their experiences.
Mental health problems need not prevent many people performing effectively and efficiently at work. In fact, many people are able to sustain successful careers while experiencing mental illness. But despite this, there is still a widespread stigma around mental ill health at work and a prevailing culture of low expectations. We spend up to 60% of our waking hours at work. We may be professionals, but we are also people, and we need to be supported in our roles and in our lives.
I believe we have a duty to stand up and challenge the stigma around Mental Health as well as increasing our understanding of mental health in our workplaces. I also believe that it we should fight to make it commonplace for employees to be able to say “I’m struggling”, or “I need support” in the workplace without the fear of negative consequences.
Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult. It can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea with each other, or going for a walk and listening to a colleague talk about how they feel and life generally. Being open about mental health and ready to be in your colleague’s corner can make a positive difference to you and them.