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Mental Health in the Workplace

9th October 2023

Mental health is becoming increasingly important in the workplace and it’s no different here at Seraph. Organisations are on a mission to discover the best strategies for enhancing the mental health of their staff members. We understand that poor mental health in the workplace has a detrimental influence on employee morale, health, involvement, and productivity and we want to do what we can to help this.

More than half of all work-related illnesses are caused by poor mental health. Stress, depression, or anxiety account for around 51% of long-term sick leave.The employee wellbeing statistics for 2023 data reveal that 60% of employees feel anxious and 56% are experiencing symptoms of depression. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health care. We all battle with different issues and have varied mental health requirements. It is critical that we handle employee wellbeing on an individual basis.

 

Understanding mental health and wellbeing

Our social, emotional, and psychological well-being is referred to as mental health. It has an impact on how we think, feel, and act.

Wellbeing refers to how we perceive ourselves, our connections with others, and our life. Mental health and well-being can have an impact on:

  • how we deal with stress 
  • the decisions we make
  • how we interact with people 

Our mental health and well-being do not remain constant; they alter and vary throughout time. Some factors that may have an impact on this are:

  • our surroundings, which include previous and current life events
  • the individuals in our lives as well as support systems
  • our cultural and social upbringing, well as our personal values
  • our economic situation
  • the availability and utilisation of support services and networks
  • our physical health

You can explore more about mental health here.

 

“Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.” – World Health Organization

 

Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

We’ve all felt unhappy, stressed, or scared at times. Most of the time, those sensations pass, but they can sometimes grow into a mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, which can interfere with our daily life. 

Workplace mental health difficulties are becoming more prevalent. Almost one in every seven people in the United Kingdom suffers from mental health difficulties at work. They also account for more than 12% of all sick leave days. Depression and anxiety are two frequent mental health disorders.

More information about all the types of mental health conditions and things that can affect it, can be found here.

People with good mental health can work efficiently, deal with stress, and reach their maximum potential. It helps to achieve:

  • increased employee morale
  • improved individual and group performance
  • employment satisfaction

While stress is not a medical illness, it can have a major influence on professional wellbeing. Long periods of stress can lead to:

  • produce physical and psychological symptoms
  • make pre-existing mental health issues worse
  • burnout, an occupational condition, can result

You can learn more here about workplace anxiety and what you should do about it.

A manager can assist in managing and preventing stress by enhancing working conditions.

 

How do I recognise a mental health problem?

If we face severe obstacles at home or at work, our mental health is likely to suffer as a result.

There are numerous symptoms and signs of mental health disorders. As a general guideline, you should get help from your doctor if you are experiencing tough feelings such as:

  • preventing you from progressing on with your life
  • having a significant impact on the people with whom you live or work
  • having an effect on your mood for several weeks
  • causing you to contemplate suicide

We may find that we are more tired than normal at work. We may make uncommon errors, struggle to inspire ourselves, lose track of time, or become irritable.

We may appear or feel fatigued or depleted. We may find ourselves isolating ourselves, avoiding colleagues, or appearing inattentive. We may procrastinate even more – or come to a complete halt. Alternatively, we may accelerate or become chaotic, intruding into other people’s conversations and work, and taking on more work than we can handle.

We may struggle to recognise these early warning indicators in ourselves, so having colleagues who can assist us connect this to our mental health can be beneficial.

 

Looking after your mental health at work

We can all work to improve our mental health and resilience – our ability to deal with adversity.

Self-care is a skill that must be honed. It’s not easy, especially if we’re anxious, sad, or have low self-esteem.

Same ways you can improve your mental health are listed below. These can be your ASSETS – your go-to solutions for improving your health.

Look for one or two that you find difficult. These could be your OBJECTIVES. It’s possible that these are the areas you neglect when stressed – for example, drinking too much, isolating yourself, or comfort eating are all examples of ways we try to cope that are the polar opposite of what the science shows works for our mental health.

Finally, choose one or two areas where you believe you could improve or experiment. These are GOALS. Your goals and challenges may be the same, but it is sometimes nicer to yourself to set some goals that are easier to achieve.

  • Talking about your feelings
  • Keep active
  • Eat well
  • Drink sensibly
  • Keep in touch
  • Ask for help
  • Take a break
  • Do something you are good at
  • Accept who you are
  • Care for others.

 

What are Seraph doing to help?

Like other organisations, we have a mental health strategy and support our employees in the following ways

  • 24/7 access to a GP for an employee and anyone in their household
  • Access to an Employee Assistance Programme including 6 free counselling sessions
  • Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace
  • Mental Health Awareness training provided to every employee
  • A Duvet Day to be used every year
  • A Mental Health policy available in our Staff Handbook
  • Mental Health speakers
  • An ‘Open Door’ policy in the office for anyone that wants to talk
  • Fundraising opportunities in partnership with Mind
  • Annual wellbeing events, including ‘Sports Days’ and ‘Charity Walks’

 

Mental health in the workplace is a serious problem that impacts both individuals and organisations. While there is still work to be done to ensure a positive working atmosphere for all employees, we have been developing to recognise the significance of mental health in the workplace as a whole. Individuals who prioritise their own mental health are more likely to be successful and fulfilled in their jobs, while companies that prioritise mental health are likely to have happier, healthier, and more efficient staff and we strive to become one of them!

 

Further reading and resources

Mind – Advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem

Access to Work – Government funded scheme to support employers to make reasonable adjustments to work

Acas – Conciliation service, providing briefings, training and support on conflict at work , discrimination and dispute

Equality and Human Rights Commission – Equality Act