Almost half of us experience poor mental health. And business can (and should) be helping to change that.
To recognise today’s World Mental Health Day, the SHC team have decided to get outside. We will be walking the 12-mile circuit of the beautiful Bewl Water in Kent and end the day with a picnic, prepared by members of the team.
We all want to work hard, achieve great things and be at our best for our clients and for each other. As we know, business is at its best when people are at their best.
But the workplace can become a hectic and stressful place at times. That’s why it’s so important to take stock, to understand and listen to our people better, and to help them thrive in the workplace.
A big part of this is giving consideration and credence to our mental health.
As Business in the Community’s (BITC) fourth annual survey on Britain’s mental health at work suggests, progress is being made with increased awareness and positive action.
But it’s still not happening quickly enough or at the scale required. “Unacceptably, some employers are still contributing to the psychological harm experienced by their staff through poor business practices and cultures,” it says.
The latest report says that 2 in 5 (39%) employees have experienced poor mental health due to work, or where work was a contributing factor, in the past year. This figure stood at 36% in both 2017 and 2018. Clearly, things are moving in the wrong direction.
The survey shows that the three main causes of work-related poor mental health are:
- too much pressure
- workload impacting on the ability to take leave
- lack of support
52% of those who experience mental health problems related to work say this is due to pressure such as too many priorities or targets. And 62% of managers have had to put the interests of their business before their staff’s wellbeing either ‘sometimes’, ‘regularly’ or ‘every day’.
The fact of the matter is that many of us have mental health issues. In fact, 30% of people surveyed by BITC have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime.
Yet parity of esteem between physical and mental health has yet to be realised. And that’s a big problem.
As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, what better time for businesses to start acknowledging and supporting staff that experience poor mental health, whatever the cause.
As employers, we must all start to step up our efforts to have a positive impact on people’s lives by creating workplaces that enhance positive mental health.
The BITC’s report is full of useful, practical advice and recommendations to create positive, inclusive workplace cultures that help rather than harm the mental health of the people who work for you.
We’re proud to be marking this important day by getting out into the countryside, with some good conversation, a bit of exercise, and some delicious food.