Workplace Mental Health

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According to ‘Mind’ the charity for better mental health, when asked how stress in the workplace affects individual employees 21% of the investigation participants admitted that they had taken time off sick to avoid work due to the stress of the workplace. In the same investigation, 42% of participants disclosed that they had seriously considered giving up their job due to stress in the workplace. 56% of employers expressed interest in doing more to develop and improve staff health and wellbeing, however they felt that due to lack of training they are unable to do so. Some pressure can encourage and motivate people to achieve. However when pressure becomes excessive or overwhelming it can ultimately lead to work-related stress.

According to CIPD, mental ill-health costs the UK economy around £70 billion each year. “Organisations that do not promote the mental well-being of their employees risk long-term problems, including reduced competitiveness, lower productivity and fewer prospects for sustainable growth. Conversely, the rewards for businesses that engage with this issue are huge.” (CIPD)

Stress is not a medical condition, it is in fact an adverse reaction to excess pressure and is not a psychiatric diagnosis. Stress is a risk factor as a result of mental illness. The feeling of stress is reactive to circumstances and in order to resolve the feelings of stress there is no medical treatment – instead people feeling stressed are told to address the source of their stress and coached to change the way they think about stress. Medical treatment is not given for stress unless of course there is an identified medical condition in which the feelings of stress are deriving from. With respect, prolonged feelings of stress can cause mental illness.

Depression is a mental illness and is usually treated through managed medication and behavioural therapy, such as talking therapies. Depressive symptoms can range from people finding day to day tasks more difficult to carry out, to serious life threatening thoughts and actions. It is an employers’ responsibility to support any employees who are depressed, and it should be employers’ priority to support any individuals who may be off work due to depression to do everything within reason to encourage the employee to return to work. Work is an important factor in relation to health and wellbeing, and healthy employees can reap a number of benefits for an organisation.

There are a number of steps employers can take to help ensure the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce;

  • Communicate and encourage attitudes and standards that drives healthy relationships to embellish.
  • Adopt techniques that help to improve the level of trust between management and subordinates such as carrying out regular team building exercises.
  • Create and communicate policies and procedures that appropriately reward employees as well as procedures that allow the business to suitably deal with discipline and grievance matters.
  • Actively involving employees in decision making and encouraging employees to bring forward idea and opinions.
  • Training and developing managers and employees so they have better control over how they carry out their jobs.

An organisations ability to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce relies heavily on the managers within the business. Line managers deliver all policies and procedures and also set the tone whilst leading by example within the organisation.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland, please get in touch with us here.

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