Companies are only as strong as their people, therefore fostering a healthy, inclusive and productive workforce is vital for success.
However, despite this, stigma and discrimination still exist when it comes to mental health, particularly in the workplace - where we spend a large portion of our lives.
Right now, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, whilst in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
Yet, too often, a lack of awareness and understanding from employers means that mental health issues often go unrecognised, leading to lower productivity, lower morale and ultimately higher staff turnover.
According to research from our 2017/18 charity partner, MIND, employees are often scared to reveal their mental health problems. More than one in five (21 percent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them, while 30 percent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’.
MIND notes that a major part of de-stigmatising mental health in the workplace involves creating an environment that encourages open dialogue, where employees feel they can safely and comfortably have conversations about mental health and ask for help without any negative consequences.
The charity suggests that regular catch-ups are a great place to ask employees how they are getting on and will help build trust and give staff the change to raise problems at an early stage.
Organisations can also show their commitment by creating a clear mental health strategy and specific policies to ensure employees experiencing mental health problems get the support they need straight away.
But, it is also about recognising that experiences of mental health problems vary across different groups and communities.
MIND highlights that it is not only important to acknowledge that there are a vast array of mental health problems, but also how all types of diversity and difference impact a person’s identity and their experience of mental health - two people with the same condition are likely to experience it differently.
This further emphasises the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and creating a culture where we can continuously learn from one another to drive best practice and decisions.
For more information on MIND and the work they do to promote a greater understanding of mental health in the workplace and the recruitment sector, visit their website.