With the recession bringing about a rise in mental health problems, there has never been a better time to think about how to promote mental health at work. According to the Mind mental health charity (mind.org.uk), at any time 1 in 6 workers is experiencing depression, stress or anxiety. This is a figure so large as to be un-ignorable, yet mental health issues generally aren’t yet discussed as fully as they ideally should be. This is why Mind characterises the problem as “the elephant in the room”.
If you’re looking to promote mental health in the workplace there are a number of online resources that form a good basis for building on as you go forward. The government employment relations organisation acas has a guide entitled “Mental health: we need to talk” available for download in PDF format on its website. Acas believe the cost to business of mental health problems is £30 billion per year – another figure that’s difficult to ignore. The advisory booklet provides helpful realistic scenarios with employee mental health problems presented in the workplace context.
In conjunction with the new Time To Change campaign (by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness), Channel 4′s new mental health season 4 Goes mad looks to help raise awareness of mental health issues while also aiming to help in de-stigmatizing them. The season is currently running, with programs taking in common mental health problems such as depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – so if you’ve missed any of the shows that have already been broadcast, check out the Channel 4 on demand service where you’ll be able to stream them for a limited period.
Speaking on the Healthy People blog by business healthcare insurance provider AXA PPP, the company’s expert on mental health advises that for employees who wish to speak to someone at work about a mental health issue the first thing to do is consult their line manager. Some firms also provide an Employee Assistance Program – these offer counseling for a range of problems.