Mental Health & Wellbeing Focus
go site Mental health http://whiteearthdesign.co.uk/shop/?paged=1 in the workplace was the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, which took place on Tuesday 10 October.
The term ‘Mental Health’ includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. According to the NHS, one person in four will be affected by a mental or neurological illness at some point in their life. Mental Health Foundation research states that anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders both in Britain and worldwide, with approximately 450 million people currently suffering with mental health problems. Mental ill health can have a profound impact on the lives of sufferers and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day. Worryingly, 17 out of 100 people in the UK also experience suicidal thoughts.
Part of the reason many struggle to understand mental health is that they don’t know what it actually means; to date, there are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. More specifically, mental ill health is characterised by mild to severe disturbances in thought and behaviour, resulting in an inability to cope with the demands and routines experienced throughout life.
The most commonly known forms of mental illness are depression and anxiety, but there are plenty of others. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as eating and personality disorders will drastically affect the way people go about their day-to-day lives. In its most severe form, mental ill health can make it impossible for a sufferer to hold down a job.
buy accutane london MENTAL HEALTH, WELLBEING & THE WORKPLACE
During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work, so our experience in the workplace is a key factor in determining our overall wellbeing. Our growing concern with good work-life balance has helped to raise awareness of the relationship between our jobs and our mental and physical wellbeing.
The working environment can, without doubt, exacerbate mental ill health; reported causes include poor management, unreasonable demands and deadlines, unfair pay, bullying, harassment and internal politics. A negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.
The results of a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. The study found that:
- 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
- 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
- 80% find it difficult to concentrate
- 62% take longer to do tasks
- 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients
The study also found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in both manual and non-manual workers.
THE LATEST STATISTICS
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a national survey run by the Office for National Statistics. Currently around 37,000 households are surveyed each quarter. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) commissions annual questions in The Labour Force Survey to gain a view of self-reported work-related illness and workplace injury based on individuals’ perceptions. The analysis and interpretation of the data are the sole responsibility of HSE.
Announced by the Health & Safety Executive on 1 November, the latest statistics reveal that in 2016/17, 1.3 million workers were suffering from work related ill-health and there were 609,000 workplace injuries. 31.2 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries, costing Britain £14.9 billion.
For the first time, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for the most days lost due to work-related ill health (49%). The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 was 526,000 (1,610 per 100,000 workers). 236 thousand were new cases (720 per 100,000 workers), up 4.3% since 2015/16 (690 per 100,000 workers).
In 2014/15, a total of 488,000 cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety were reported, thus signifying an increase of 7% since this period.
Sitting at the highest rate for at least the past decade, work related stress, depression or anxiety now overshadows days lost due to musculoskeletal disorders (507,000 cases in 2016/17 or 1,550 cases per 100,000 workers).
Over the three-year period (2014/15-2016/17), the average prevalence rate for work-related stress, depression or anxiety across all industries was 1,230 cases per 100,000 workers.
Statistically, small workplaces had considerably lower rates of work-related stress, whilst medium and large workplaces had significantly higher rates:
- Small (less than 50 employees) – 970 cases
- Medium (50-249 employees) – 1,430 cases
- Large (250+ employees) – 1,770 cases
The average prevalence rate for males was 1,170 cases, with 1,880 cases for females per 100,000 workers.
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It can be difficult for people to open up about mental health and wellbeing issues – it can leave a person feeling vulnerable and open to being made more upset. Particularly at work, people don’t want to seem incapable or unprofessional, and the stigma attached to mental ill health it makes it even harder to spot in the workplace.
However, the stigma associated with mental health isn’t just limited to the workplace. According to Mark Winwood, Mental Health expert and Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP Healthcare:
“You need to think about stigma in three ways:
“There’s self-stigma – negative associations that we carry round when we believe we will be looked at negatively if we disclose that we’re experiencing any difficulty.
“Then there’s societal stigma – labels that society gives to individuals experiencing mental health concerns; we get this from the way mental health is spoken about on TV and/or in the media.
“Then there’s institutional stigma – which can stem from an organisation’s treatment of individuals with mental health concerns or is indicated in the way the state provides less funding to mental health services than physical health services; these behaviours are stigmatising.”
Look at a bigger picture, it’s not difficult to understand why somebody dealing with mental health issues might be afraid to come forward and seek help from their boss.
Employers and managers who implement workplace initiatives to promote mental health and wellness, and who support employees who have mental disorders see gains, not only in the health of their employees, but also in their productivity at work.
People that feel good about themselves often work more efficiently, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to the workplace. Healthy and motivated workers are more likely to ‘go that extra mile’ – giving good customer service, taking fewer sick days and providing commitment and creativity.
The importance of an increasing emphasis on health and wellbeing is reflected by an estimated 1.3 million workers suffering from a work-related illness (new or long standing) in 2016/17.
More specifically, work-related stress, depression or anxiety caused 40% of work-related ill health and 49% of working days lost in 2016/17, and continues to represent a significant ill health condition in the workforce of Great Britain.
It is clear that mental ill health lies at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges. Employers, their staff, organisations and individuals must take steps to promote positive mental health and support those experiencing mental ill health and wellbeing concerns.
Through openness in conversation and compassion, we can make a difference in improving health and wellbeing, for ourselves and each other.
To view this feature in the digital edition of HSE International Magazine, click here.
IF YOU’RE EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS OR NEED URGENT SUPPORT, THERE ARE LOTS OF PLACES YOU CAN GO TO FOR HELP.
Confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.
Confidential mental health information services.
Expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, including health professionals, employers and staff.
A national, out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.
Call: 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm-10.30pm, 365 days a year)
The Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35 – dedicated to preventing male suicide.
Call: 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight, 365 days a year)
Web + webchat: www.thecalmzone.net
Prevention of young suicide – a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Call: 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm & 7-10pm. Weekends 2-5pm)
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
WHO WE ARE
HSE International Magazine is the leading independent publication in corporate responsibility, health, safety and environmental practice, covering every industry and business sector worldwide.
We provide you with the latest news, views, legislative changes, industry awards coverage and comment from individuals and organisations at the forefront of successful health, safety and occupational risk management.