Mental health problems are very common in the workplace. According to statistics, over 12% of all sick leave is attributed to mental health and the workplace can be a cause of a wide range of mental health conditions including stress, anxiety and depression.
According to the Mental Health Foundation this means that around 1 in 6 people are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace. So if you are working in a team of 20 people, it is likely that at least three team members will be struggling with their emotional wellbeing at any one time.
Improving staff wellbeing in the workplace is therefore very important. It is not only crucial for the well being of the people you know and work with; failing to tackle the issue has a detrimental effect upon staff productivity and morale. According to statistics published by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, taking steps to improve psychological wellbeing in the workplace could save UK businesses up to £8 billion a year.
Staff wellbeing in your workplace
Although all workplaces have health and safety regulations in place, staff wellbeing does not fall into the same category. This means that most workplaces do not have any safety measures to cope with staff who may be struggling with wellbeing or mental health issues.
To find out how well your workplace considers the emotional wellbeing of the staff, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know if any of your staff are suffering from mental health issues? – The chances are that there will be some, given that this is such a widespread issue across the workplace, but this problem often goes largely
under detected and ignored.
- Does your workplace talk openly about mental health issues and people’s thoughts and feelings? – Some work environments can be supportive to discussing thoughts and feelings but this is unlikely to be the case in busy environments such as kitchens or factories which often have a high turnover of staff. In addition men in a predominantly male working environment are highly unlikely to open up to admitting to problems. Men can struggle with mental health issues and male suicide is the biggest cause of death among the under 35 age group so this group especially can be at risk.
- If you thought that a work mate, colleague or staff member was struggling with their psychological wellbeing how comfortable would you feel in approaching them on the subject? – Would you feel confident that you could help? Or would it just become excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable?