Why it’s okay to not be okay
According to Thriving at Work, the UK government-initiated review of mental health and employers, the mental health challenge in the workplace is much larger than originally thought: “Not only is there a big human cost of poor mental health at work, there are also knock on impacts for society, the economy and government.” Employers are losing “billions of pounds” because employees are less productive, less effective, or off sick.
And while there are more people at work with mental health conditions than ever before, some 300,000 people with a long term mental health problems lose their jobs each year, and at a much higher rate than those with physical health conditions.
Mental ill health may relate to depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), personality disorder, bi-polar, schizophrenia… but as clinical and business psychologist Dr Lucinda (Lucy) Shoolbred explains, mental health awareness applies just as much when things are going well.
It’s only by understanding how our own mental health might have ups and downs that we can understand the difference between something like transitory stress – in response to a temporary work or home situation, for example – and something more deep rooted and long term, mental ill health. Understanding our own mental health undulations is essential before we can better understand and support the mental health of others.
Dr Shoolbred delivers two Bec Development workshops that address this. One designed to train up mental health champions to drive organisation-wide initiatives within their organisations and the second to enable employee populations at large to recognise mental health issues in themselves and others and have more open and supportive workplace interactions around them. Find out more about our wellbeing and mental health awareness BOOST days and workshops
Creating conversations and workplace initiatives around mental health delivers benefits to both the business and the individual, she says. Good employers recognise this, observes Dr Shoolbred, and create environments where people are mental health aware, feel empowered to talk about emotions in a mental health context.
“It’s important that people see specific emotions as not ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. We need all our emotions and be able to talk about ourselves as a whole.”
Her Bec Development workshops cover critical areas, such as employees understanding where they are personally on the ‘I am okay’ – ‘I am not okay’ spectrum. Employees and champions can also encourage and demonstrate work-life balance and even create space to recharge, including office recharge zones, where people can switch off, relax, even take a nap, stretch or meditate, away from modern 24/7 ways of working that leave no time to “decompress”.
This post is taken from a longer article we have published on LinkedIn. Read the full article