Mental Health Awareness week in the UK is from 9th to 15th May, with the United States going beyond this with a full month of activities (it has been observed in the US since 1949). It is a great opportunity for UK businesses to utilise this week to educate and share. Mind (mental health charity) are using the ‘spoken word’ next week to show the different ways people talk about their experiences.
We all experience and talk about mental health differently, but often we are not listened to or represented. We all have mental health and as Business Owners/Leaders/HR professionals we have a duty to support our people.
According to a report conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science, poor mental health costs the UK a staggering £188 billion per year. Many mental health problems are preventable, so it is counter-productive to wait until the problems arise before providing support.
Rather than wait for the government and decision makers to commit to policies that promote good mental health and invest in community programmes, we can make a difference as business owners right now. By focusing on the prevention of poor mental health, we can reduce both the economic and personal costs, and support more people to live mentally healthy lives.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey to ensure mental health awareness in your workplace;
Taking care of yourself
It is important we lead by example. Are you talking about it? Do you still see mental health as a taboo subject and avoid the subject? It is important that we look after our own wellbeing and use positive coping strategies and identify our own personal stress triggers.
Taking care of your people
Research from the charity Mind confirmed that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers. Starting a conversation about mental health does not have to be difficult. Next week, I am hosting an event with Michelle Morgan, Ambassador for Mental Health First Aid England, on how we have those courageous conversations (see below for more details).
As Employers, we need to identify and tackle the causes of workplace stress. There is lot of support and resources available to enable Organisations to lead and embed a wellbeing strategy.
This is an important part of your journey. Do you have Mental Health first aiders in your business? We need to break down the stigma associated with Mental Health and have ways in which employees can be sign posted to support/expert help. Line Managers need to have confidence and knowledge in managing mental health and handle difficult conversations effectively.
Mind have provided lots of useful resources for next week;
HPC are hosting an exciting event next Wednesday 11th May at 9.15 online with author and Mental Health expert Michelle Morgan next week, that all DIB members are welcome to attend.
To book your complimentary place
I hope next week is a huge success for you and you take a small step to make a difference in your business and break through the stigma.