Mental Health Matters is a monthly newsletter brought to you by Mental Health at Work. You can read thought provoking articles about Mental Health in the Workplace. Look back at our past issues and subscribe to keep update on the latest news.
According to YouGov research launched last week, supported by Mental Health at Work and commissioned by BITC, 15% of employees who disclosed mental ill health face dismissal, disciplinary action or demotion. Not only that, 60% of employees say they have experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work, yet the research exposes a vast shortfall in the way that mental health is viewed in the workplace:
- Less than a quarter (24%) of managers have received any training in mental health.
- 35% report not having any workplace facilities or services to support employee mental health and wellbeing.
- Only 11% of people felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their line manager.
Madalyn’s recent viral tweet of her boss’s positive response to her request for a mental health day has certainly got the conversation around mental health absence going, with much debate about how organisations should approach the idea, what policies should be in place and what we should call it.
In reality, this conversation centres around open and trusting relationships at work – presumably Madalyn had previously discussed her mental health with her boss and he had an understanding around mental health and how to manage this within his team. Maybe he was one of the 10% of managers who feel they have had sufficient mental health workplace training and he recognised that this was a preventative step, avoiding both presenteesim and a period of longer term sickness.
All managers have a duty of care towards their staff and understanding their mental health so that it managed is a key part of this responsibility.
There was a noticeable step change in attitudes to mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 ; the media interest following the Royal’s involvement in the Heads Together campaign was heightened, public figures and personalities spoke in support and organisations all over the country ran workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns to help reduce the stigma around mental health. The impact has been felt across society as awareness is raised, with call’s to Mind’s helpline rising by a staggering 40%.
Many organisations are now asking themselves what is the next step they should take beyond awareness to understand and manage mental health within their organisations, ensuring that the systems and culture supports all employees to thrive with good mental health, complementing support that is already in place for the individuals who may have mental health issues.
We all have mental health; it exists along a continuum from wellness to illness and like physical health it is not always consistent from one day to the next. At Mental Health at Work we think that we should all be aspiring to good mental health, both in the workplace and beyond, with our environments, support structures and individual actions all working together to contribute to this ambition. Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health issue.
Changes are afoot – media coverage around mental health is becoming more literate and less stigma driven and respected individuals are feeling more comfortable sharing their experiences of managing mental health issues in the workplace – but as the recent Institute of Directors Survey shows, still just 7% of employers have discussed mental health issues with their staff.
At Maudsley Learning at Work we are undergoing some changes and have re-launched as Mental Health at Work. We believe that if we are going to tackle the stigma around mental health we need to be bold and direct in the language we use and being clear, in our name, about what we do in the workplace, is part of that.
We were delighted to support the Time to Talk, #timetotalk day earlier on this month, encouraging everyone to have a conversation which will start to change the way we think and act about mental health. But what happens if you don’t talk about mental health in the workplace?
There is the more obvious impact of the lack of openness that increases presenteeism and impacts on early intervention, which can keep an individual in work. There are also less obvious outcomes. Read more
At Maudsley Learning at Work we were very encouraged that one of Teresa May’s first announcements of 2017 was on mental health Reducing the Stigma Around Mental Health, raising awareness of the issues and some of the steps that can be taken by both government and employers to address this very real concern.
However, focussing the conversation on ‘mental illness’ and ‘crisis’ will only take us so far in reducing the stigma. Read more
The festive period is well and truly upon us. Lights, glitter, parties and presents. Fun, friends and family. It is a wonderful time, but also a time when many of us feel the pressures and stresses of our lives intensify both in the workplaces and in our broader lives. What happens when this pressure turns to distress?
The recent report published by BITC on Mental Health in the Workplace, highlighted that in general men are less confident than women in talking about mental health in the workplace – as employees they are less likely to discuss issues with their manager and as line managers they are less enthusiastic about training in mental health.
Men account for more than 3 times as many suicides as women and the biggest age group at risk is 45-59 year olds. Read more
Earlier in October, we welcomed the report released by Business in the Community on Mental Health at Work. The report confirmed that we have made little progress in addressing the stigma around the issue – despite 77% of employees experiencing poor mental health at some point in their lives, on their most recent occasion only 35% approached anyone for support and only 11% discussed it with their line manager.
Perhaps, what was more surprising was the disconnect between board members, 60% of whom believe that their organisation supports employees with mental health issues and 40% of junior managers who believe this to be the case. Read more
30% of employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel cared for by their employer1
Taking care of your people is at the heart of creating a great place to work, where people are appreciated, engaged, productive and thriving. Where they actually want to work. At Maudsley Learning at Work we are seeing progressive employers considering their employees mental wellbeing in addition to their physical health. Providing training to your employees to help them understand, manage and promote mental health as part of a healthy, stigma-free workplace will improve employee engagement, productivity and ultimately benefit the bottom line. Read more
Latest research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that 1 in 3 people have experienced a mental health issue while in employment. 40% of long term absence amongst non-manual workers is caused by stress or mental illness1, 38% of employees said that they found it difficult to talk to anyone about their mental health2
Compelling enough reasons to invest in mental health training for line managers? Read more
Since the beginning of 2016, Maudsley Learning at Work have had over 3,000 conversations about mental health at work with organisations across the UK. We have spoken to C-suite executives, HR managers, partners, health and safety executives, operations managers and the feedback has been consistent, whether you are working in a large corporation like one of our blue chip clients such as Charles Russell Speechlys or a smaller organisation, mental health does matter! Read more