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Mental Health Awareness Week 2015
11-17th May is Mental Health Awareness week organised by the Mental Health Foundation.
We’ve produced an infographic highlighting the direct impact of mental health on workers in the UK.
Research from Acas, NHS, Bupa and mental health charities shows the vast number of working Britons affected by mental illness.
2 Million of us suffer from mental illness as a result of our jobs, and for many this isn’t a temporary state of affairs.
The stigma attached to mental health problems such as stress prevents many sufferers (44%) from raising it with their manager. Bullying at work is also a major cause of mental health problems, which can be a very difficult situation to resolve.
Those who suffer in silence for prolonged periods are susceptible to becoming the victims of longer term health issues. Mental health problems contribute to a greatly increased chance of suffering coronary heart disease.
When it comes to long-term employee sickness, mental health issues are responsible for half of all absences from the workplace. This includes those with depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.
If UK employers did more to address mental health issues then staff could be helped earlier so longer term work absences are prevented.
Handling Mental Health Problems at Work
Employers wanting to take action on mental health have access to a great deal of free resources to help them.
Although mental health advice should only be provided by trained professionals, employers can still assess how mentally healthy their workplaces are and make adjustments.
Anonymous employee surveys, followed up by positive changes to work/life balance, workloads and the office environment are great ways to engage the workforce.
Being sensitive and flexible towards staff suffering long term mental health problems will also transition them back to work more effectively. Maintaining a dialogue with staff will help those suffering mental health problems. Being clear about the value they bring to the organisation, without applying pressure on them to return to work is a good way to show your support.
Offering a phased return to work allows employees time to cope with the adjustment, and increases the likelihood that they will return to work both healthier and happier.
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 click here.