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Why we should be talking about corporate mental health

Quote: “…Mental health is everyone’s business.” – Vikram Patel

Most recently, mental health and the issues surrounding its better provision have become a highly debated topic, with ex-Prime Minister Theresa May stating that mental health care is ‘this generation’s greatest task’.

Despite implemented changes within schools and the recently retired, corporate mental health is being paid less attention to with an estimated 14.7 percent of the UK workforce reporting to have experienced mental health problems in the workplace (according to MentalHealth.org - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-mental-health-work).

Uncertainty at work post–graduation, the stressful nature of certain industries and the arguably toxic culture of mental health stigma and bullying are issues that need addressing with the right duty of care for the working individual, by improving corporate mental health provision at work. But what can be done about improving corporate mental health and mental health issues at work?

The responsibilities of the company:

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 gives the employer the responsibility to protect and provide the employees with safer work conditions that prioritise their health and safety – but what about mental health? With many campaigners highlighting that mental health should be held to the same regard as physical health, there are laws in place that provide some protection, such as the Mental Health Act of 1983, which was reviewed in 2017 (https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/our-policy-work/mental-health-act-review/).

Potential problems that arise in the workplace:

With anyone having to deal with bad mental health at work, the wrong atmosphere and attitude to mental health provision can aggravate the issue.

An outlying problem in regards to mental health are the stereotypes – employees with bad mental health labelled as lazy, incompetent or even dangerous and unpredictable, if faced with genuine mental struggles when fulfilling their duties at work (https://www.investigoexecutive.co.uk/mental-health-bias-in-the-workplace/).

The issue is highly likely to lead to misconceptions, mistreatment and misunderstanding of a mental health issue, which can then result in bullying and harassment from other colleagues.

High stress environments, such as the financial and banking sectors are increasingly susceptible to mental health issues, with Legal & General in 2013 reporting that depression and anxiety among financial professionals was at a seven year high (https://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/141192/the-seven-mental-disorders-most-prevalent-in-financial-services/). 

The prevalent issue of uncertainty after graduation for leaving students could mean that workplaces are unable to appropriately accommodate those facing varying levels of depression and anxiety (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/03/06/new-study-says-graduate-students-mental-health-crisis).

Potential solutions:

In order to prevent and to take better care of those who may experience bad mental health at work, the workplace advice service ACAS recommends that employers put in extra measures to provide a greater duty of care for mental health (http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3751):

  • Provision of mental risk assessments and triggers 
  • Protection from bullying, harassment and discrimination 
  • Clear consultation & help for those having trouble dealing with bad mental health
  • Relaxation areas & safe spaces
  • Information on further counselling & other areas of help

For the employee, it is also important to understand that mental health often should come first, before any work obligations.

Further mental health support:

The Mix

Samaritans 

Papyrus

Childline

Rethink Mental Illness

C.A.L.M

Time to Change

NSPCC 

NHS Mental Health pages 

Mood Juice 

Young Minds Charity 

Other organisations that offer mental health resources:

IF IN SERIOUS CRISIS AND IN AN URGENT NEED OF HELP CONTACT EMERGENCY SERVICES VIA 999

 

Disclaimer: Atlantic Speaker Bureau and Joanna Jones Management Ltd resources given are for informational purposes only, and should not replace the specialized training and professional judgment of a health care or mental health care professional. Atlantic Speaker Bureau and Joanna Jones Management Ltd cannot be held responsible for the use of the information given. Please seek help from a trained mental health professional before making any decisions regarding treatment of yourself or others. Self-help information provided by the Internet and other forms of media are useful, but it is not a substitute for professional assistance from a mental health professional. Please seek help from a professional immediately, if at risk.