Friday, 12 October 2018 14:11

We All have Mental Health

Wednesday this week was Mental Health Awareness Day and statistics from a 2017 YouGov poll reveal that the percentage of people affected by mental health where work is a contributing factor stands at 60%. This is up significantly from the 25% or one in four figure that we are used to reporting.

The increase is very likely to be as result of more people being prepared to admit to mental health issues although mental health organisations will say that we still have a long way to go.

One approach that we might consider is that we all have mental health; just as we all have health generally. Just as most of us will suffer something during our lives that affects our general health, most of us will 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.

Mental health issues can be complex, diverse and wide ranging. The more common conditions we are aware of include stress, anxiety and depression. These can be bought on by a tough work schedule or deadline or perhaps external factors such as the death of a loved one or physical illness. Additionally severe and enduring mental illness can be life changing.

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.

It’s commonly reported that admitting to having mental issues is shrouded with stigma and is seen as a weakness; especially amongst men. Few people want to admit to being unable to cope or that that are feeling stressed. However this is exactly what needs to change. We should try to create an environment where employees can express their concerns and what is causing them problems.

If we are able to catch the 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 have to take time off work.

We applaud our clients Newland Homes who have appointed seven “Mental Health First-aiders”. These are people who work in the 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.

Newland Homes’s approach is one we can all learn from. My guess is that by being pro-active they will vastly reduce the number of work days lost to poor mental health and will reap the rewards longer term.

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


Read 656 times Last modified on Friday, 12 October 2018 14:20


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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