mental ill health

Mental Ill Health in the Workplace

May 2018
Mental Health

The Department of Health warns that at some point in our lives, one in four people will encounter mental ill health. It is crucial therefore that employers and employees take action to promote positive mental wellbeing and support anyone suffering mental ill health.

What is Mental Ill Health?

According to WHO: Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community.

Mental ill health, then, can be said to be the opposite of all or most of those things, where they impinge on our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Ill health of any kind can affect how we think, feel, and act, with ourselves and toward others, ill health can also be a determiner in how we cope with stress, relate to people, and make decisions or choices.

Mental ill health can vary from feeling ‘a bit low’ to feelings of anxiety or depression, to acuter although less common conditions like bipolar or schizophrenia.

For most of us, our mental health will not simply be a continuum, quite often it will rise and fall depending on the burdens or stresses we experience in our lives. You may generally feel in good mental health but might also suffer stress or anxiety on occasion.

Why do we need to understand and address mental health?

When staff feel good about themselves they are often more productive, work together with colleagues well and make valued contributions in the work environment.

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted recently the impact that mental ill health can have on an organisation. The study found that:

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

The research also found that stress is the major cause of long-term absence in both manual and non-manual workers.

In the world of business today, employee mental health and wellbeing should be a key area of focus for innovative institutions. For companies, employee mental health and wellbeing shouldn’t simply be something that lip service is paid to, the best, invest time, energy and resources into developing workplaces that encompass mental wellness and recognise it as a vital part of business strategy.

If you believe that you or someone you know has been affected by mental health and you would like to learn more, contact a member of our team today.

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