The 10th of October marks World Mental Health Day 2019. Here at Passion Digital we are dedicated to supporting mental health in the workplace and are constantly implementing and improving our initiatives to improve wellbeing at work. Here are some thoughts on dealing with mental health in the workplace from our HR Manager, Channing Cox.
Mental Health is a term that simply doesn’t have a single definition. One thing we can confirm is that mental health involves your physical, emotional and social well-being. It can hinder your ability to solve problems, ability to form relationships, prevent you from achieving goals and can massively affect your feelings towards yourself and your life.
With 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experiencing mental health problems within the UK, it’s now a topic greatly discussed within the media and parliament, gradually becoming a less taboo subject to discuss.
Managing Mental Health in the Workplace
There are always ways to improve your mental health and below we will look at things we can do within the workplace:
- Take regular breaks – going for a walk around the block or just some time away from your desk (if you work in an office) can really help.
- Become better organised – write a to-do list that orders urgent tasks and those that are not so urgent, allowing you to deal with one at a time.
- Learn to relax – learning some breathing techniques when you are going through high levels of stress can help to decrease anxiety.
- Change what you can – deal with everything you can change personally; everything else should not be a concern.
- Look at your long term priorities – What can you change? What can you offload?
- Improve your lifestyle – this is quite broad but has such a huge impact within work as well (improve your diet, take regular exercise, drink lots of water, get quality sleep).
- Confide in someone – don’t hold things in; speak to someone you trust, whether this is your team leader, human resources or even a colleague.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your work – don’t dwell on the negative or anything you cannot change.
- Get some outside advice – this could be a counsellor, a support line or your GP.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can really improve confidence and any workplace should be over the moon to know you would like to upskill yourself.
The steps above are aimed at a person suffering and offer a few pointers about the actions that they can take to improve their wellbeing. However, it’s imperative that a company notices the early signs of mental health issues and have the support available and processes in place to manage each individual. Some of these signs can include drastic poor performance, difficulty forming or keeping relationships when it wasn’t a previous problem, an inability to make decisions, becoming less social and more isolated and increased sickness.
Supporting Staff in the Workplace
- Be there to simply listen. Not everyone has someone to talk to that they trust or feel they can confide in. Ensuring you have regular communication is essential, as you can be a real support but also manage the situation at hand far better earlier on.
- Sometimes a person may be struggling with the hours they have, or can’t face coming in every day. If you have the option of offering a flexible working environment for a period of time, it’s important to offer the suggestion of reducing hours or work from home days to really help that employee.
- Certain jobs can be client facing and at times a person may simply not be able to cope with this level of communication. If this can be taken into consideration and an alternative arrangement can be agreed, this could help the person return to a positive and stronger mindset.
- Offer external support, or encourage a person to get external support, allowing them the time they need to receive this.
- Don’t be afraid to have external people come in to talk about mental health – those suffering and returning after a bad episode can almost feel embarrassed to discuss their leave. Make it a conversational topic, not a grey area, and encourage best practice within everyday work life free from any form of discrimination.
At Passion Digital we are passionate about raising mental health awareness and promoting positive wellbeing in our work environment. To find out more about our ethos and our wellbeing initiatives, take a look at our Mental Health and Wellbeing page.