Finding Time to Talk About Mental Health at Work

mental health awareness

It’s Time to Talk Day on 4th February. A day dedicated to raising the awareness of the increasing issue of mental health. To encourage people to open up and discuss their experiences, knowledge, views and concerns. It’s not something people want to talk about. But that’s the point.

Research has shown that approximately 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health problem in any given year. This includes formally diagnosed mental health condition such as clinical depression, schizophrenia or bi-polar, as well problems such as stress, phobias and anxiety. Yet despite the high prevalence of mental ill-health, reports suggest that 9 out of 10 people struggling with a mental health condition have experienced stigma or discrimination when they have revealed their condition. It’s thus understandable that reports also show that in the workplace, willingness to disclose any mental health concerns is low.

In 2014 the office of national statistics found that 15 million working days were lost due to stress, anxiety and despression and further reports also suggest that many people have taken time off as a result of mental ill-health, but reported it as being due to something else. Further highlighting people’s fear of prejudice and stigma and the negative impact it has on their lives. Within the workplace poor emotional well-being accounts for such a high proportion of sick days and lost productivity that could be easily addressed with a more open and accepting approach to mental health. By opening a dialogue it helps dispel the myths surrounding mental health conditions. One of the main ones being that mental health is something scary or something to be ashamed of. It’s not. It’s also not something a person can just ‘snap out of’. It is, however, something that many people struggle with and something they may well need support in addressing.

But unless people feel empowered to be open and honest about the difficulties they face on a day to day basis, they will continue to suffer in silence. That is why it is so important to make time to talk. To discuss the realities of mental ill-health and find ways to support one another in dealing with it; learning strategies from each other on how to cope, or simply being a friend and listening to what others are going through. Unless we can create a culture of openness, nothing will change, so it’s important we embrace this opportunity. Talk to your friends. Talk to your colleagues. Talk to a professional. Talk to us. Have a chat over coffee, discuss it during a team brief, or set up a time with your manager. But however and whoever you chose to discuss it with, just find some time to talk.

Take our survey:

We’ve set up a 3 question survey to understand the shape of wellbeing in the workplace and invite you to take just a couple of minutes to give us your views by clicking here.