World Mental Health Day is a time that has been set aside each year to celebrate and promote global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It's an initiative run by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries, and the day was first introduced in 1992.
Since then it has focussed on such topics as; the link between mental health and meeting and eating with family and friends, mindfulness, depression and how to take a proactive approach to your personal wellbeing. This year it takes place on Tuesday 10th October, with the theme Mental Health in the Workplace and is a good opportunity for us all to consider our approach to our own personal mental wellbeing and that of those around us, espeically at work.
Colleagues often become friends and provide a good support network for those going through emotional distress, but it is the line manager relationship that allows for the official communication between the organisation and the employee. This is why it is key that your leaders have the right skills and approach to deal with staff who suffer from mental health problems compassionately and effectively. Getting it wrong can be a distressing and costly mistake for the team and the business.
The line manager relationship is where discussions about personal wellbeing, performance and progress are likely to take place, so it is there that any issues are likely to become apparent. It is not necessary to be a doctor or therapist to adopt an open and honest approach to reviews and a culture of understanding and willingness to address problems.
First contact is key in distress. How an initial conversation is handled can affect the ultimate outcome, and it is important to display empathy without making rash promises. There should be no implication of weakness, incompetence or blame, but a positive hopeful discussion led by the needs of the indivudal.
We all have times when we struggle, and often temporary adjustments can make a huge impact on someone's abiity to cope and to make logical choices to improve their situation. It an employee feels supported and that an employee truly cares about their welfare, this can vastly improve their loyalty, attitude and ability to perform and succeed in the long term, which can only be a positive outcome for the employer. Resilience and the ability to manage challenge and change effectively is a key skillset in the modern workplace.
Organisations have a duty of care to their staff, which you can help to fulfil by working with Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counsellling to provide services for those in need. You may find World Mental Health Day a good opportunity to initiate a conversation about what steps your co-workers could take to provide for their mental fitness.
Our services include:
3 million of these people also have paid jobs to combine with their caring roles, and many forego full time work, promotions, or even have to stop working altogether to care for those in need.
There are many stresses to consider, and according to research by Building Carer Friendly Communities, over a third of those asked say their employer does not understand their caring work, to not have policies to cover carers, and that they don't feel comfortable talking to their employer about their caring responsibilities. 60% of carers have either reduced their hours or given up their paid jobs to care. 42% say that they struggle financially.
Many feel isolated, as they are unable to lead a fulfilling social life and have little leisure time. Carers report that they would welcome the opportunity to meet with other carers who understand their plight, but the constraints of caring prevent them from doing so. Many lose friendships because of a lack of shared experience and opportunity to go out. Some even start to face their own mental health problems because of overwork and isolation.
hours are completed
understanding co-worker culture, preventing resentment
This will result in a more loyal and collaborative workforce and increased productivity, but could also reduce absence for stress and depression.
Carers also have a responsibility to themselves and to those they care for, to ensure they keep physically and mentally well. As well as eating healthily, exercising regularly and reducing intake of drugs such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, carers should also ensure they find time to reduce their stress levels. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga and relaxation techniques can all be extremely beneficial and can be practiced at home. Cultivating friendships with other carers can help to reduce the stress of the burden of care.
The same study also suggests that many carers are not currently doing this. Half report a deterioration of their mental health since starting their role as carer and have left a problem to go untreated. Over a third have physically injured themselves, and the same number only ask for help in an emergency.
When it all becomes too much, counselling can benefit people by helping them to identify their core issues and to support them in taking positive steps to improve their circumstances. This might include giving them the confidence and skills to speak to their employer about their needs, or to seek help from others.
Both face to face and telephone counselling is available, depending on your preference
To find out more about Carer's Week, visit http://www.carersuk.org/?gclid=CPq6z-_RmM0CFQo6GwodWyADkw
It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!
A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.
For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda. It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.
However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction. To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.
For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.
For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.
Read the full report at: http://b.3cdn.net/joinmq/7eb7e59295b1ecd263_rgm6iy3yj.pdf