Covid-19 is hopefully on it’s way out, but the impact it has had on the world’s mental health will be with us for a long time. There has never been so much discussion and emphasis on mental health, but actions speak louder than words and it is down to businesses to ensure they are supporting staff with their wellbeing.
- 1 in 6 workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time. (1)
- There were 602,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19 in Great Britain. (2)
- In 2018/19, stress, depression or anxiety were responsible for 44% of all cases of work-related ill health and 54% of all working days lost due to health issues in GB. (2)
- 1 in 5 people take a day off due to stress. Yet, 90% of these people cited a different reason for their absence. (3)
- Presenteeism accounts for 2 times more losses than absences. (4)
- Every year it costs businesses £1,300 per employee whose mental health needs are unsupported. (4)
- Mentally ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year. (4)
- Note: Different studies will estimate the cost of mental ill health in different ways. Other reputable research estimates this cost to be as high as £74–£99 billion. (5)
- People with a long-term mental health condition lose their jobs every year at around double the rate of those without a mental health condition. This equates to 300,000 people – the equivalent of the population of Newcastle or Belfast. (5)
- 9% of employees who disclosed mental health issues to their line manager reported being disciplined, dismissed or demoted. (6) Note: The percentage of people reporting discipline, dismissal or demotion in the Business in the Community report has reduced over the last three years: it was 15% in 2017, 11% in 2018 and 9% in 2019.
- 69% of UK line managers say that supporting employee wellbeing is a core skill, but only 13% have received mental health training. 35% of line managers reported a wish for basic training in common mental health conditions. (6)
What is concerning is that all of the above statistics were retrieved pre-pandemic, so the numbers will have only increased.
The creative industry has always been known for long hours and stressful deadlines, so I am lucky to work for an agency that prioritises employee well-being. We recently introduced a 4-day working week, have a pool table, and open seated areas where people can relax and hold regular social events. Not all of these luxuries are available, so what else can companies do to improve the wellbeing of their staff? Read on to find out 6 ways to introduce wellbeing into your workplace.
1. Invest in Mental Health Training
I attended an online training course in Mental Health Awareness (7) which gave me a good understanding of what is meant by ‘mental health’, common mental health problems, how people can manage their mental health and how to promote a healthy work environment.
I then followed this up with first aid training from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England (8) which gave me further understanding of how to spot the signs of mentally ill health and offer first aid support. The training assists in reducing stigma, increasing wellbeing, and encouraging people to thrive at work.
2. Share Wellbeing Information and Resources
I regularly share information and resources that offer practical support and information on managing physical and mental wellbeing. I share internal ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ posts every week, with topics covering meditation, where to find help, nutrition, exercise and much more.
3. Take Part in Mental Health Awareness Events
There are lots of mental health awareness events that your business can take part in. These are a great way of getting the team together to talk about mental health issues. At our Leeds marketing agency, we have held everything from colouring competitions, bake sales, quizzes and lunchtime talks. All of the events listed below have tips and resources available so they are easy to plan – just search online! They are also a great way of raising money. Below are a few key ones:
- Stress Awareness Month: April
- Mental Health Awareness Week: 9th – 15th May 2022
- Mental Health Day: October 10th 2022
- Stress Awareness Day: 2nd November 2022
- Time to Talk Day: February 2023
4. Hold Yoga Sessions in the Office
I started doing yoga over Zoom in lockdown with the team and it was a huge hit! Yoga can help calm and balance the mind and increase energy levels. We do longer sessions with music and mats, but also down tools on occasion and quick desk yoga if work is getting on top of us.
5. Join Leeds Mindful Employer Network
The Leeds Mindful Employer Network brings local employers together to champion positive mental health at work. The Network was established in 2013. It is a unique offer to Leeds, putting the city at the forefront of initiatives to promote workplace mental health and wellbeing. It is commissioned by Leeds City Council (Public Health) and led by Leeds Mind, in partnership with local employers. Their membership currently includes over 700 local employers, including us! There is access to support, events and resources on their website.
6. Sign Up to the Mindful Employer Charter
Mindful Employer is a national initiative that supports employers to take a positive approach towards mental health at work. By signing the Mindful Employer Charter, employers can make a public declaration of their ambition to support the mental wellbeing of their staff. We signed the charter recently and are currently working our way through the ten steps!
My team will tell you I practice what I preach and I know from experience that investing time in mental and physical health has so many benefits. Find out more about our workplace culture.
- McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 [Internet]. Leeds; 2016. Available from: content.digital.nhs.uk
- Health and Safety Executive. Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain 2019 [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 6]. Available from: hse.gov.uk
- Mind. Work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives [Internet]. 2013. Available from: mind.org.uk
- Centre for Mental Health. Mental health at work: The business costs ten years on [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Oct 16]. Available from: centreformentalhealth.org.uk
- Stevenson D, Farmer P. Thriving at work: The Independent Review of Mental Health and Employers [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 22]. Available from: gov.uk
- Business in the Community. Mental Health at Work 2019: Time To Take Ownership [Internet]. 2019. Available from: wellbeing.bitc.org.uk