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Friday, 21 February 2020 13:42

We All Have Mental Health

The tragic death of TV presenter Caroline Flack last week has notably re-ignited awareness around mental health and wellbeing. It’s a subject that has increasingly influenced the advice that we give in regard to people management over the past 24 months, with stress and anxiety often being key factors. We introduced a suite of specific training courses more than 12 months ago to help organisations manage mental health issues. However, we would be the first to state that whilst some training should form part of your mental health strategy, organisations should implement an ongoing structured approach.

Mental health issues can be complex, diverse and wide ranging. As mentioned, the more commonly recognised conditions include stress, anxiety and depression. It should also be remembered that severe and enduring mental illness can be life changing.

Work isn’t always the main cause. For example, the physical decline or death of a loved one can trigger a mental health episode, as can physical illness or a partner’s job loss. We might find that pressures or conditions at work such as a tough work schedule or tight deadline might exacerbate external factors however.

It’s widely reported that admitting to having mental issues remains shrouded with stigma and is seen as a weakness; especially amongst men. Historically, individuals have been unwilling to admit to being unable to cope or feeling stressed for fear of being accused of being inadequate. However, we should be trying to create an environment where employees do not feel this way and instead can freely express their concerns, problems and feelings.

The increase we have seen in cases where mental health is a factor, is likely to be a result of more people feeling comfortable about admitting to issues. Mental health organisations on the other hand will probably say that we still have a long way to go.

One approach that organisations can consider is to encourage the view that we all have mental health; just as we all have health generally. It’s fair to say that most of us will suffer something during our lives that affects our general health; and equally, we might also suffer something that affects our mental health. In other words, many of us can expect to have poor mental health at some time in our lives.

As employers, our approach to mental health should be the same as any other health condition. We have a duty of care towards our employees and should ensure they are safe and that the work environment is a safe place to be.

Because mental health issues don’t generally have any outwardly visible signals like a plaster cast would be for a broken arm, or a streaming nose and red eyes from an allergy, we need to take other steps to identify it.

If we are able to catch the triggers and causes of mental health issues early on then we can do something about it, thereby increasing the chances of resolving the issue before it gets out of hand and causes anyone to need to take time off work.

More and more organisations are introducing Mental Health First-aiders; employees within a business that other employees can approach in absolute confidence if they feel a mental health issue might arise. Although not qualified in dealing with mental health issues per se, the first-aiders are trained to spot the early signs of mental health issues and can signpost individuals towards an appropriate course of action or mental health practitioner.

Our own two-day Mental Health First Aid training courses are regularly available.

In addition, organisations can provide in-house mental health awareness training for all staff and we have training solutions for this too.

For further support and advice about implementing your own mental health strategy, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read 326 times Last modified on Friday, 21 February 2020 13:46

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