One of the biggest goals we want to achieve at You in Mind is tackling mental health stigma. There are still so many misgivings about what it means to have ill mental health and these stigmas can have an adverse effect on those facing conditions such as depression, anxiety and more.
Research has shown that mental health is now the biggest cause of absences in the UK. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 workers in Britain are affected by poor mental health with common conditions being stress, anxiety and depression. Even more so, most of these ill workers will not report their true medical issue due to mental health stigma.
“Oh, Dave is sick again. Wish he would just pull himself together.”
“Come on, Sarah, it can’t be all that bad.”
Comments like these are unhelpful but all too common in the workplace. And the truth is, most of us are guilty of making presumptions about the health of others without understanding what they are going through.
In order to fight mental health stigma in the workplace, we need to change our attitudes and work toward creating a positive environment for all.
The first thing we need to do is talk about it. Start a conversation with your colleagues about mental health. Maybe run a special training morning or hold a meeting to discuss what mental health means and to answer questions. Stigma often comes from a lack of understanding so educate your team through discussion.
From there, look at how your business operates and see what you can do better. Introduce mental health procedures and policies to include support for those with additional needs needs. Consider reasonable adjustments for any staff battling ill mental health, for instance flexitime or the chance to work in a quieter part of the office.
At the same time, train management and human resources in dealing with mental health needs. Mental health first aid training can be extremely beneficial and so can having specific individuals within your workplace on hand to deal with mental health issues.
Lastly, make sure your colleagues are aware of mental health support online and in the local area. Positive support outside of working hours is just as important inside working hours, so signpost your colleagues to additional mental health help.
Once you open up about mental health and what it actually is, you will see a momentous change within your workplace. Simple steps like these will help you tackle mental health in the workplace today.