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World Mental Health Day 10th October

Courtesy of CIPD Blog

It’s World Mental Health Day…but what does our annual Absence Management survey tell us about how employers are handling mental health problems in the workplace?

10th October marks World Mental Health Day, and whilst several charities are organising great events to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental health, I thought it’d also be a good chance to reflect on how mental health problems are handled in the workplace.

We spend a hefty portion of our time at work, but when we feel under excessive pressure from both our jobs and personal lives, how does this impact upon our well-being, our careers, and how do our employers support us?  Our annual Absence Management survey, in partnership with Simplyhealth, reveals the latest trends and will be published on the 14 October. But first, here’s some brief analysis of some of the figures and what employers are doing to help.

Employers tell us that mental health problems are on the rise. Overall, 42% of organisations we surveyed have seen an increase in reported mental health problems over the last 12 months, with the highest statistics emerging from the public sector (60%). The number of employers who say they’ve seen an increase in reported mental health problems has doubled since 2009 (2013: 42%; 2009: 21%), signalling the need for this to be at the forefront of employers’ agendas.

Mental ill health is usually caused by a combination of pressures at work and at home. Increasing worries about debt, rising bills and job insecurity, as the economy continues to remain depressed, may therefore lead to a further surge in mental ill health.

But what are employers currently doing to help their employees? The most common support provided for mental health problems are counselling services, flexible working opportunities, employee assistance programmes and a greater involvement of occupational health specialists.

It’s important for managers to look after their employees’ interests, by regularly assessing the demands their employees may be under from their work, and also taking into account any excessive stress they may be feeling from their home-life too. For people to perform well at work, they need to know that their managers care and trust in them enough to be comfortable to raise any issues.

Managers are ideally placed to spot early warning signs of problems and need to be adequately trained to have good quality conversations with employees who may be struggling; so that they can guide their staff to the support their organisation can offer them. Well-being and health promotion is important and some employers offer resilience training.

Previous CIPD research with MIND found that 1 in 4 people surveyed have experienced mental ill health. And with our latest statistics showing that two fifths of employers have seen an increase in reported mental health problems, this is an area that truly needs some more attention.

Please go to the CIPD website on the 14th October to read the press release.

Worcestershire Wellness Works

With most adults spending a substantial proportion of their daily lives in the workplace, employers can play a vital role in improving the health and well-being of the work force. This may include ongoing workplace health promotion, raising awareness of particular health issues and supporting employees to make healthier lifestyle choices.

For more information on the Worcestershire Wellness Works scheme go to www.worcestershire.whub.org.uk. Also view this downloadable file and follow the 5 STEPS TO IMPROVE WELL-BEING.



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