How many times during a week have you found yourself saying, “I’m fine” to a colleague or friend when in fact you don’t really mean it?
I asked this question earlier this week to a group of employees during a 1-day Mental Health At Work Awareness training session that I was hosting near Sheffield.
The majority of delegates replied that it was common to say, “I’m fine” or “I’m OK”. It appears to be the default unconscious position, so as not to open the conversation further and bring attention to themselves.
A study of adults commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation found that on average adults will say “I’m fine” 14 times a week, though just 19% actually mean it.
While most of us may be happy openly discussing feelings, many of us are not being honest and sticking to a mental script.
This invents an illusion of support. Outwardly we’re habitually checking in with each other, but underneath that, many of us feel incapable of saying how we’re feeling.
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health challenge in a year.
In England, 1 in 6 people reports encountering a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
Worries about things like money, jobs, relationships, the recession and Brexit concern can make it harder for people to cope.
We all possess some form of mental health, and when it’s okay, we have a sense of purpose, motivation, drive and resilience.
Overall ability to cope with whatever challenges and hurdles that life and work throw up.
We all undergo tough times, we become apprehensive, agitated, angry and experience so many different feelings and emotions.
These feelings usually pass, but occasionally they develop into stress, depression or anxiety.
For some, this can be more challenging, and long-term conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia and dissociation disorders, these can affect our ability to perform and engage at work at a consistently high level.
Health and Wellbeing is an issue that the NHS is struggling to cope with.
The Independent reported that people who are seeking help with mental health concerns are waiting in excess of eight weeks to see a GP again after their original appointment.
That’s why employees must recognise that good mental health and proper managerial training, processes and structures are pivotal, and there is growing evidence that organisations that implement health and wellbeing procedures are more productive.
In fact, implementing and addressing health and wellbeing concerns at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.
Thursday 10th October was World Mental Health Day. An opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.
I read a book last year, ahead of speaking at the 4th International Conference on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management, called Dying for a Paycheck written by Jeffrey Pfeffer.
The author makes clear that the environment we work in is just as important as the one where we live. There is a great quote below taken from the book, which sums up nicely for me the importance of workplace wellbeing.
Your supervisor is more important to your health than your family doctor –
Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller.
If you think you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or any form of mental health and you are finding it difficult to cope in your workplace, the first step is to talk to a colleague that you trust, your manager or an HR advisor.
Workplace wellbeing is at the top of many companies’ agendas as the impact of work-related stress, illness and mental health issues are better understood.
There are actions that we can all do individually to reduce our exposure to increased mental health within the workplace such as, have a proper lunch break and avoid eating your lunch at your desk, identify your ‘stressors’; are you continually working late in the office or taking work home to complete? How much exercise are you currently doing? What do you do outside of work leisure and social pursuits? And spend more time with family and friends.
I typically help SME’s whose employees are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression and are struggling to cope. If you’re considering raising awareness with your employees or you’d like to learn more about how you can reignite your life and regain your competitive advantage, please feel free to get in touch and book your FREE 40-minute consultation.
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