In 2018 6,859 people took their own lives in the UK and Ireland. That is 19 people per day and nearly one person every 1 hour 20 minutes. This is a rise of 11.8% on previous years. (Samaritans.org)
World mental health day is a day for everyone to reflect on and speak up about their own struggles of mental health. The stigma is breaking but there is still a long way to go until mental health is thought of just as much as physical health.
Mental health issues are harder to diagnose than physical health problems and therefore there should be more ways of talking about and reporting it. Many people don’t even realise they have suffered previously or are suffering with mental health problems.
Key take aways from the Business in the Community Mental Health at Work Report - 2018
- 1 in 3 of the UK workforce have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their life
- 11% of respondents who disclosed a mental health issue subsequently faced disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal
- 61% of employees have experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor
- 33% of line managers have taken part in mental health training
- 16% of employees felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their manager
- 12% of managers face situations every day where they put the interests of their organisation before their team members
So what could businesses do to help their employees who are suffering with mental health and help break the stigma?
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 act encourages managers and some employees to have first aid at work training. Employers have a responsibility to look after employees whether that is physical or mental health. 33% of line managers in 2018 took part in mental health training and this is great progress. You can book mental health first aid training courses at Mental Health First Aid England (https://mhfaengland.org).
Companies should create mental health policies to go alongside health and safety procedures.
Mental health days should be ‘the norm’. This allows employees to look after their mental health and they won’t feel the need to lie about why they are off.
Business should have greenery in their space as this is thought to help provide a calm and less stressful environment. Have a cycle scheme in place to allow for a less stressful commute. A strong community is paramount to help employees feel happy and comfortable at work. Having a community and supportive colleagues will help employees find it easier to discuss how they are feeling. Having a good atmosphere at work will promote positivity and productivity.