Today is World Mental Health Day and was established to raise awareness about mental health, something that has garnered increasing interest and understanding over recent years, and rightly so. According to mind.org, one in four of us will encounter some sort of mental health issue every year. With our knowledge growing about mental health disorders, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to how we can engage with the topic at work seeing as so many of us spend the majority of our days in our work environment.
People’s workplaces vary greatly. Some offices have vast amounts of people milling around, other individuals work alone from home or cafes, and of course there are a plethora of industries that aren’t structured by a 9-5 basis at all such as hospital staff, airport staff etc. However, despite where or how you work, it is important to know who you can go to with any health qualms or concerns about your state of mind.
Not all businesses are fully equipped to deal with occupational health yet, but we are getting there. Mind.org run courses throughout the year to assist managers with best practice for dealing with staff who are having mental battles, and to help recognise those colleagues who perhaps don’t feel confident to speak out yet (https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/training-consultancy/). Some workplaces offer their staff ‘mental health days’ where they can utilise a much-needed day off during a particularly stressful time, other employees promote volunteering and activities that focus on a positive mindset to break up the routine and inject some freshness into the working months.
These aren’t necessarily solutions for everyone and there are many who are entrenched in a spell of depression or anxiety where it all seems too much. The responsibility for workforce’s to recognise where this might be apparent in their teams is relevant and the pressure is on to ensure a healthy workforce. It is also our individual responsibility, as members of society, to educate ourselves and to be kind. Work can feel like a façade at times, but it truly is a reality where we should stop and check in on our colleagues now and then – it could be the start of a very important conversation.
For more information on workplace mental health, visit https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/.