This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was themed ‘Surviving or Thriving?’. Many people in the UK are only surviving in their day-to-day lives rather than thriving in them, as we would hope to be. In order to help people who are struggling to thrive, there needs to be a shift in the way that mental health is portrayed, particularly in the workplace.
Mental health issues are widespread in the UK today, with one in six people experiencing a mental health problem in any given week. These issues are commonly experienced throughout individuals working lives, this could be due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, stress, anxiety, pressure and depression. A recent study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation and employee benefits provider, Unum surveyed 2,000 people who are in work and found that the majority of them are living with a mental health condition.
These worrying figures highlight the enormity of the issue and make it clear that mental health has a negative impact on both employees and employers. Mental health is costly to employers, with research from the mental health charity Mind finding that 21% of respondents said that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress affected them, 14% had resigned due to workplace stress and 42% had considered resigning. In order to increase employee retention, it would greatly benefit employers to place a stronger focus on mental wellbeing in the workplace. This can be done by ensuring that measures are put in place to support employees who may be suffering from a mental health issue.
For employers to be able to offer their employees support with their mental health and wellbeing they need to be better educated on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. If employers focus on how they can create an inclusive workplace where employees feel that they are able to disclose any mental health problems, they will be able to offer better support.
In a survey by the Mental Health Foundation, 58% of respondents who have had a mental health problem in the last five years had decided to disclose this to their employer, just over half of the respondents (54%) reported a mainly positive experience. However, 15% reported a mainly negative experience and a shocking 29% of respondents who had chosen to disclose said that they had experienced direct discrimination on mental health grounds.
Mind, also found that 56% of employers who were surveyed would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel that they have the right training or guidance. Many managers feel that they cannot relate to employees who are experiencing mental health issues due to having not experienced them themselves. It has been found that managers who have experienced mental health issues could be a valuable resource to employees who are suffering from mental health conditions. Managers who have experienced mental health issues have been found to be more confident when dealing with employees who are suffering with similar conditions and are able to offer them greater levels of support than managers who have not suffered with a mental health issue.
It seems clear that more education is needed surrounding mental health within the workplace for both employees and employers, so that individuals suffering from mental health issues feel that they will be supported if they do choose to disclose to their employer. There also needs to be a breakdown of the barriers that surround mental health and the stigma that is associated with it.
We work with a number of organisations to promote the great work that they are doing surrounding employee wellbeing and mental health. We work to ensure that the variety of initiatives that your business may have in place to support employees with their mental health are visible to potential candidates. This is an important aspect of how we can begin to change brand perceptions for individuals who may not have considered your company as an employer of choice before.
The exposure that we offer brings the work that your company is doing to the forefront of peoples’ minds when they are seeking employment. Our platform is a place where individuals can find out about all of the things that your business is doing surrounding diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and they can then make an informed decision as to whether they think that they would be the right fit for your business.
We display all diversity related content such as initiatives, staff network groups, benefits, employee support, mental/physical wellbeing and more. The accessibility features on our website ensures that the content is fully accessible to everyone, providing organisations access to a larger and more diverse talent pool.
If your business celebrates diversity days such as Mental Health Awareness Week we’ll be there to shout about it. We display articles, events and more to promote what you’re doing for these times and we reach an audience of over 200,000 potential candidates each month.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.