This week May 8th – 14th is Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 which has as its theme – ‘Surviving or Thriving?‘. Mental health problems are commonplace in the workplace and have been cited as the leading cause of sickness absence. It is estimated that a staggering 70 million work days are lost annually due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year. A recently released report by the Mental Health Foundation into the mental health of the nation outlined that: –
- Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health
- People over the age of 55 report experiencing better mental health than average
- People aged >55 are the most likely to take positive steps to help themselves deal better with everyday life – including spending time with friends and family, going for a walk, spending more time on interests, getting enough sleep, eating healthily and learning new things
- More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
- 1 in 4 say they have experienced panic attacks
- Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.
A stigma remains in society about mental health issues but as the statistics suggest mental health problems affects a significant proportion of the population and these issues can have a detrimental impact on employees which in turn can impact adversely in the workplace. The McAllister Group recently launched an initiative focussed on employee Health & Well-Being in conjunction with consultants Health Matters. The results of a staff survey emphasised several areas where support and advice would be welcomed in respect to medical concerns, the promotion of healthy living/lifestyles and stress management.
The company’s resultant action plan has specific sections where there is an undertaking to address mental health concerns from employees including work-related stress. Subsequently the action plan will detail the best means to communicate with staff and identify the most appropriate platforms to proactively respond to situations or circumstances where the mental well-being of an employee has been challenged. Following the implementation of the action plan and feedback, the McAllister Group’s HSEQ Manager will seek to formulate a Stress and Mental Health Policy in conjunction with Health Matters.
For more information on the report by the Mental Health Foundation ‘Surviving or Thriving: The state of the UK’s Mental Health’ visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk and for details on events and stories visit on Twitter #mentalhealthawarenessweek