Updated: Jul 27, 2019
This year’s World Mental Health Day (10th October 2017) had a particular focus on mental health in the workplace.
It comes as no surprise in a modern society where we are pushed more and more to chase this idea of “success”, in whatever form it may come.
As children we are part of the school system and as young adults we continue to higher education or employment. It almost becomes a bit of a race towards the so celebrated success. The downside? We spend the majority of our time working/studying and “chasing the dream”, sometimes at the expense of our overall wellbeing.
With the majority of our days spent in the workplace, it is not surprising that employers are increasingly being pressured into safeguarding employees wellbeing in the workplace. Many have put in place new initiatives such as wellbeing days at work where employees are invited to take some time out of the work week to look after themselves in the hope to promote wellbeing and increase productivity in the long term.
But is this enough? Unfortunately the answer is no. Just look at the figures below…
Globally, approximately 300 million people experience depression, 260 million are living with anxiety and many of these people experience a combination of mental health difficulties (World Health Organization, 2017).
Moreover, despite the recent campaigns promoted by national charities such as Mind UK, stigma around mental health is still real and many people still struggle to open up about their mental health difficulties.
This is particularly true (but not limited to) in the work place, where a great proportion of employees find it difficult to talk to their employers about any mental health difficulties they may be experiencing, for the fear of being stigmatised or having a negative impact on their employment.
These fears are not always unfounded. A recent survey of 3000 employees found that, among those who had disclosed a mental health difficulty, to their employers, 15% faced dismissal or disciplinary action. Despite 53% people saying that they felt comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace, only 11% reported feeling comfortable disclosing a mental health difficulty to their line manager.
This is why this year’s World Mental Health Day had a strong focus on wellbeing in the workplace. Ending Mental Health stigma and discrimination is everyone’s responsibility… and as citizens we need to do more to talk about mental health openly in different contexts to help fight the taboo that still surrounds people experiencing mental health difficulties.
We can all play a part by making small changes in our daily lives… Step 1: Talk about it and don’t be scared of it! It could happen to all of us.