There are many Mental Health Awareness courses which are designed to help assist businesses in being able to start conversations about mental health and also support employees who are experiencing mental ill-health. Recent reports suggest that, 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and that 31% have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue.
Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10 October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.
Our mental health is just like our physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.
Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Taking care of our mental health
We all need to take care of our mental health and wellbeing whether we have a mental health problem or not.
Mental wellbeing describes how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.
Many people find going to work is good for their mental health. It can help you look after your mental health by providing:
- a source of income
- a sense of identity
- contact and friendship with others
- a steady routine and structure
- opportunities to gain achievements and contribute
What if work is making my mental health worse?
You might find work can have a negative impact on your mental health. This can be because of:
- workplace stress
- poor relations with your colleagues
- the type of work you’re doing
- being treated unfairly because of your mental health problem
- being unsure whether to tell your boss and colleagues about your mental health problem
- worrying about returning to work after a period of poor mental health
Whether you have a mental health problem or not, your employer has a duty of care to you under health and safety legislation.
If you’re experiencing a mental health problem that is impacting your working life, it can be tricky to know what action to take, but there is support available to help you.
Should I tell my employer about my mental health problem?
If you have an ongoing mental health problem, or are struggling with your wellbeing, you may feel unsure whether to tell your employer or not. You might experience some barriers such as:
- not knowing who, when or how to tell
- being unsure of how much to tell
- worrying about how they will react
Telling anyone about your mental health is a personal choice – there is no right or wrong answer.
What are ‘reasonable adjustments?’
If you have a mental health condition that is considered to be a disability, and your employer knows this, they have a duty under the Equality Act to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for you. These adjustments can be temporary or made on a permanent basis.
If you have a diagnosed mental health problem, think about what specifically could help you with the problems you experience. Your employer might refer you to an occupational health advisor for advice on how best to support you.
Some questions that you can ask yourself each week to check your mental health:
How do I feel today?
Looking after my wellbeing:
Am I drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet?
How did I sleep last night?
Am I well rested?
How’s my thinking today?
Are my thoughts making me feel?
My stress container:
How full is my container?
Am I using coping strategies and are they working?
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 069 8970.