Today, Thursday 10th October marks World Mental Health Day, with the aim of raising awareness and support for mental health issues worldwide.
The theme this year is suicide and suicide prevention. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK, with recent statistics showing that only 27% of people who died by suicide between 2005 and 2015 had been in contact with mental health services in the year before they died. This highlights the need to talk about and understand suicide within the workplace in order to prevent further suicides in the UK.
A huge 77% of employees have reported having had a mental health issue in their lifetime, with 15 million absence days attributed to mental health issues each year. Ben, an independent charity and dedicated partner to the automotive industry, carried out a survey on 300 CEO’s and found that mental health is the biggest factor in keeping CEO’s from the automotive industry up at night, at 38%.
Mental health issues are so widely experienced yet the social stigma surrounding them still exists, especially from families, friends and employers. The fear of what other’s responses will be often discourages people from speaking out about their problems. There are many common misconceptions about those with mental health issues, including that they’re dangerous or the illnesses are self-conflicted. These negative beliefs make it difficult to speak about and results in many employers not wanting to hire someone if they’re suffering with their mental health.
Ensuring your workforce is a happy one is one of the most important tasks in a managerial role; addressing well-being in the workplace can increase productivity by up to 12%. This means that managers should be aware of mental health issues and the impact they can have on a workforce and know what they can do to help.
Here at Jigsaw Business group, our ethos supports positive mental health and our managers and colleagues are committed to offering continuous support to one another. If you suspect that your colleague is suffering with their mental health, you can use a few of the ways that we use here to offer our support:
Encourage them to speak out
The stigma surrounding mental health can make it extremely difficult for employees to open up and speak to their managers about their mental health, so normalising it and regularly asking them how they are can really help.
Let them know you understand
It’s important to go away and research the issues if you don’t know much about them so you can understand the problems your staff are dealing with. Even better, if you have experienced any similar issues, let them know that they are not alone.
Let them know your door is always open
Once they’ve opened up to you, it’s important that your colleagues know they can continue speaking to you whenever they need to and that your support is not just a one-time offering.
Develop a plan alongside your employee
A plan with appropriate measures in place to support them should be developed, which may involve supporting them with time off work, their work load, and other continuous help to assist them in dealing with their problems in the best possible way.
The following video by Time To Change highlights the importance of asking twice if a colleague is okay.
If you are experiencing mental health problems or are in need of urgent support, we have included various places you can go to for help:
Telephone: 0300 123 3393
(9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
Telephone: 0800 58 58 58
(Helpline, 5pm – Midnight, 7 days a week)
Telephone: 116 123 (Free 24 hours a day)
Telephone: 0800 068 4141
(Freephone helpline, Mon–Fri 10am – 10pm,
Weekends 2pm – 10pm)
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line
Telephone: 0300 5000 927
(10am-2pm Monday to Friday)
Telephone: 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm)