Have attitudes towards mental health really changed in recent history? Some people would argue so, but others would disagree. Mental health is far more spoken about than it ever was. But does this really mean that workplaces are properly supporting their employees?
1 in 5 employees take a day off for stress, yet 90% of these people cited a different reason for their absence. This kind of figure shows how the stigma surrounding mental health is still a huge problem, even in the modern workplace. Employees feel as though they have to disguise problems surrounding mental health. They don’t feel as though they can be entirely honest about mental health with their employer.
The Impact of Mental Health
In an interview with Ann Diment, Director of Work Safe and Well, she talks about the impact of the stigma on mental health.
Diment has personal experience of both PTSD and Depression. Speaking to Safety & Health Practitioner Online, she spoke out about the impact of mental health issues on her career: “Key symptoms of PTSD are perfectionism and avoiding criticism or conflict. In some ways it helped me do a better job, but that came at my own expense. It can lead to burnout because you work hard to overachieve. And I want to help other people recognise those symptoms.”
Diment also spoke out about how important it is to be careful of your words when speaking to others. Speaking about a miscarriage she suffered when she was in her 20s, she said: “I had a brilliant boss, but she said to me ‘it’s your own fault, you take too much on’. I thought, wow. I couldn’t believe she said that to me. But that kind of thing actually gets said all the time. And it’s absolutely not right.”
What Can Workplaces Do?
It’s important to make allowances and have expectations when it comes to supporting the mental health of your employees. Having an appointed Mental Health First Aider is one big step in the right direction. It’s also important to have sympathy and understanding for employees – they do not want to feel the way that they do, so it’s important to take care with their feelings.
Interested in finding out what you can do to support the wellbeing of your colleagues? Why not get in touch with a member of our friendly team, to find out how we can help you manage mental health in the workplace.
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