Making a change in your workplace: Mental health

How many people in your office consider themselves in ‘good mental health’, do you know? Looking around at your colleagues, can you tell if anyone is struggling?

workplace well-being

According to Mind, at least one in six workers are experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. How many people in your office does that equate to? When you realise how many of you that is, it’s quite shocking.

The conversation on mental health is getting louder. Finally, people are talking more openly about mental health, and the importance of support is becoming known. But in the walls of your average office space, there is a culture of fear and shame. People are silenced.

Talking about mental health during office hours is still very much a taboo subject. If people are struggling, they are keeping quiet. Whether through shame, fear, embarrassment or through lack of information, people aren’t getting the help they need.

If you’re looking to make a change in your workplace, encourage conversation and support your fellow colleagues, consider the following actions.

For more information, visit Time to Change.

If you’ve got a few minutes…

You’ll be surprised at how little people know about mental health. With so much information available, views can become conflicted. Stigma has altered the meaning and understanding of many conditions, so sharing information on common types of mental health issues and what treatment options are available is a great way to start. Think about your current ways of communication and where you can promote your message. Consider staff newsletters, chat rooms, cafeterias etc. Is there a way you can share the information and encourage conversation?

Learn how much you know about mental health, take part in the Time to Change quiz.

If you’ve got an hour…

One way to spark conversation is to share your own story. By taking the first step yourself, you’ll show others that talking about it is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re not ready to share your experience just yet, that’s OK, you can start conversation in other ways. Arrange a talk or do one yourself, emphasising the importance of mental health and why our approach to workplace well-being needs to change.

For a more informal, relaxed approach, consider running a workplace workshop or ‘lunch and learn’. Getting everyone involved in an activity is a great way to bond as a team, as well as get to know each other on a more personal level.

Time to Change have a range of activities designed for the workplace.

If you have even longer…

As awareness grows and fear dissipates, consider what your next steps are. You could run an event, raising money for mental health charities while continuing the conversation.

Join the #TimetoTalk campaign on social media, sharing your own stories while supporting others. Let people know that you and your company are making a change, and tell them why they should do the same. Nobody should feel ashamed about their mental health – we spend so much of our lives at work, we should feel supported and able to ask for help if needed.

Changing perceptions takes time, and introducing a strategy into the workplace isn’t easy. If you’re serious about promoting mental health support in the workplace, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England shares her tips in our workplace well-being page.

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Written by Ellen Lees
Head of Content.
Written by Ellen Lees
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