When people hear the phrase ‘mental health’, they often jump to thinking about the absence of it. It’s often assumed that if you don’t have a mental illness then your mental health isn’t something you need to think about. That’s one of the reasons why World Mental Health Day is so important. We all have minds; and just like our bodies, they can have good days and bad days. It’s critical to remain aware of how we’re feeling so we can discover what it is that makes us feel that way. There may also be days when it doesn’t seem like there is anything to blame at all, so it could simply be a matter of acknowledging the feeling and accepting it.
As recruitment experts, we are becoming more aware of how important it is to take steps to be aware of mental health in the workplace. Not only does a happy workforce make for a more pleasant workplace, evidence also suggests it’s more than worthwhile for a business. Although it only costs around £80 per employee to promote wellbeing at work through activities like workshops and seminars, it is estimated that a company will save far more due to greater productivity while at work and less sick days due to mental health issues.
Although someone may be smiling on the outside, studies have shown that 14.7% of people are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace, meaning that smile may not always be a true reflection of their mind. It’s also estimated that 12.7% of all sick days can be linked to mental health conditions. Since our mental health is rarely visible, it is always important for employers to have measures that keep staff mental health high on the priority list.
Stress is one of the biggest factors that can lead to a decline in our mental health. It is so common in the workplace that people have come to associate work with stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The mental health charity, Mind, have listed a few ways in which employers and staff can do more to manage it in the workplace (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/workplace-mental-health/work-and-stress/#.W74PrBNKgWp). To start with, it’s important to recognise our own individual signs of stress in order to figure out what may be causing it and to take action to manage it. It can be caused by a number of things, with some of the most common causes being problems with your workload, poor work-life balance, and a lack of support. Solutions to these issues include rewarding yourself for achievements, taking short breaks away from the desk throughout the day, and speaking to someone that may be able to give you support, such as your boss, human resources, or your colleagues.
At Lily Shippen, we have made sure that on World Mental Health Day this year, our staff have taken some time away from the desk to care for their minds. In the morning, Emma attended a yoga session with The Vibrancy Hub, a brilliant company bringing wellbeing to the workplace. Charlotte attended a ‘Lunch and Learn’, chatting with staff from other businesses about their day while playing board games. To finish the day, Lily attended The Vibrancy Hub’s ‘Elevate Your Life’ programme, involving mindfulness meditation. While Mental Health Awareness Day is officially only one day of the year, remember it’s important to check in with your mind every day.