If you’re a Twitter or Facebook user, it would be hard for you to miss that it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s great to see lots of supportive messages encouraging people to open up and talk about their mental health issues. But there is so much more to do.
According to the mental health charity Mind, 1/6 workers are dealing with mental health problems. That’s a considerable number. It is no longer an issue which can be swept under the carpet, nor should it be. We have a responsibility as employers to support our staff and provide an open culture, which must be woven through the business.
There is a large proportion of people living with mental health problems, yet many of us feel uncomfortable or unsure how to raise the subject. We treat the conversation like a minefield, tiptoeing around the issue, terrified that we are going to say the wrong thing. It can seem the most natural thing to do is say nothing. Ignore it. But, it won’t go away. Instead, it’s likely to encourage misunderstanding and feelings of isolation.
Thankfully there are lots of charities, support groups and literature available to help you support employees with mental health issues. However, it needs to be remembered that it’s not always obvious which people need your support, sometimes it is hidden. To reach these people, it’s vital that you create a culture in which people feel comfortable, respected, listened to and where communication channels are open and confidential.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they are, be patient and encourage dialogue. Care for the people around you.
For more information, and access to a range of resources, visit the links below;