Each year on October 10th, there is a concentrated effort to highlight mental health across the globe – in the form and awareness of World Mental Health Day 🌍
With the stigma once associated with discussing mental health beginning to fade, some might wonder why there’s a need for World Mental Health Day…
But in actual fact, says our Wellbeing Manager Kerry B. Mitchell, there is much more work to do be done to ensure emotional health and associated wellbeing conditions are treated as equal to physical health complaints. Only around a tenth of the UK health and social budget is targeted towards mental health, and there are sadly still many people struggling to access services they desperately need.
“This year, World Mental Health Day is focused around the theme of ‘mental health for all’ and I believe this is an important lesson for everyone to take on board, not just governments, health executives and other decision-makers, but for all of us to consider during our interactions with one another.
“Ensuring mental health is accessible to all means employers engaging with services which see their staff able to call an Employee Assistance Programme for a confidential chat and potentially some counselling too. For many, it also means training being put in place for managers to be able to spot signs and symptoms of mental ill health among their teams (MHFA England has worked with 20,000 companies through trainers such as myself – but that still leaves millions more where that support network is not yet in place).
“That investment of time in training, from attending a free webinar through to becoming a Mental Health First Aider not only ensures those experiencing mental ill health know where to go for support, it also engenders an environment where wellbeing can be talked about openly. Sadly, around two fifths of staff report they have claimed they were physically ill to hide the fact it was really their mental health which was causing their absence from work.
“In an ideal world, individuals would be comfortable to talk to their loved ones and their employers about their wellbeing – and there would be support available tailored to their specific situation. Of course, it’s not always the case that employers are unwilling to help, sometimes they simply don’t know how to (and that’s why training is so essential).
“Recently, I worked with a manager who’d been in the engineering industry all his life – he had very little experience or knowledge of mental health and was now in a position where one of his team had significant mental ill health. He wanted to support that individual but was worried about upsetting them or making things worse by starting a conversation.
“Thankfully, when he mentioned his concerns to the company he works for, they agreed a mental health course would be beneficial, which is when I met him. With the information I was able to share, he now feels much more confident to talk to his employee, understand their situation and increase the level of support he is able to offer.
“This is a great example of how that relatively small investment his company made in training has made such a positive difference to his employee’s experiences, his managerial skills, and to anyone he comes into contact with going forward who needs support with their mental health.”
Our amazing Paycare Wellbeing team are currently running a series of free one-hour e-clinics. To find out more about our free e-clinics, the themes of our sessions and learn more about our Mental Health First Aid Training, head to our Paycare Wellbeing page 💻🧠