Expertise Mentalhealth 1500X450

6 out of 10 employees have experienced mental health issues caused by work, or where work was a related factor.*

Mental health is universal. We all have it. It should be part of our wellbeing routine to spend time proactively enhancing our mental health, just as it should be tending to our mental illness when we are unwell.

For most of us, this is not the case.

Why not?

For starters the stigma around mental health means we are afraid of how having a mental illness will be perceived. We hesitate in telling our loved ones, our trusted friends, let alone our colleagues at work. Our desire to be seen as perfectly able all the time means we end up swallowing down sharing anything that may make us seen as less than. Less than healthy. Less than capable. Less than.

We often talk about a fitness and food regime to support our physical body but we don’t always think about the regime we need to stay mentally fit. In fact, our mental health drops from a top priority, to a last priority. That is, until a trigger – a round of depression, an anxiety attack, an extensive period of stress, or some other issue results in our mental health needing to be our number 1 priority. Mental health often only becomes a priority when there is no other option but to make it so.

In the last decade there has been huge progress in mental health interventions. But we have more work to do. Only 54%* of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health at work. In 2018, work and work-related challenges were a major cause of more than 1/3* of all mental health issues for employees.

If we are to increase the wellbeing of our colleagues, organisations must act in a joined-up, programmatic way. Tackling mental health not only requires making it culturally okay to ‘not be okay’ but it also requires addressing the impact that an always-on culture, demanding work patterns and heavy workloads can have on mental health. To do that, we need more than a patchwork approach to mental health.

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