Developing a Mentally Healthy Workplace

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

Being positive about mental health works.

Did you know that 61% of employees have experienced mental health issues related to work but only 16% felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their manager?

Increasing workplace literacy around mental health is key to spotting early signs of mental ill health, providing employees with appropriate support and promoting self-care and recovery.

mental health first aid training

The cost of mental ill-health

Mental ill health costs UK employers £34.9 billion each year - the equivalent of £1,300 for every employee in the UK workforce (Centre for Mental Health, 2017).

With 1 in 3 employees being formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point, it is easy to see why many organisations now prioritise mental health first aid to the same level as physical health first aid.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness affects a person’s thinking, emotions and behaviour and has a negative impact on their ability to carry out their day to day activities. Mental health issues include:

  • diagnosed mental illness;

  • symptoms of mental illness not severe enough to warrant a diagnosis;

  • mental health related crises such suicidal thoughts.

Causes of mental-ill health

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental health issues are common and can be caused by a range of factors such as trauma, relationship problems, debt and stress at work.

Mental ill-health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. This includes many in the public eye such as legendary boxer and mental health campaigner Frank Bruno MBE. Frank continues to speak openly about this experience with mental ill-health.

Although things are improving, stigma and lack of understanding still exist which can lead people to hide their difficulties instead of seeking professional help.

Mental health issues are common

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions in the UK and can be a major risk factor for suicide.

You are more likely to encounter someone experiencing suicidal thoughts than a heart attack

According to the Samaritans, death by suicide in the UK rose by 11% in 2018. Many people will experience suicidal thoughts at some stage in their life and some will die as a result of suicide.

World Mental Health Day is on 10 October 2019 - Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the most serious crisis associated with mental ill health. It is also preventable. Asking someone clearly and directly about suicide gives that person the opportunity to talk about how they feel. Talking can help to de-escalate a crisis and identify options other than suicide. If necessary, ask and ask again.

Mental Health First Aid England Training

Mental Health First Aid England training teaches staff to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues including anxiety, depression, psychosis and suicidal thoughts. It equips people with the skills and confidence to approach someone who may be experiencing a mental health issues and offer support on a first aid basis.

Training helps organisations to prioritise mental health in the workplace as it:

  • equips managers to support staff experiencing mental ill-health;

  • supports early intervention, recovery and reduced absenteeism and presenteeism;

  • equips staff to support each other and themselves;

  • increases literacy around mental ill-health and reduces stigma;

Workplace Mental Health First Aiders and Champions also encourage openness and conversation about mental health. This includes promoting workplace initiatives and social activities and supporting campaigns such a Mental Health Awareness Week and Suicide Prevention.

To find out how your organisation can benefit from mental health and workplace wellbeing training, please contact:

Esther Thomas

Thrive and Well Ltd

07852 754 179