Today Is World Mental Health Day
10 October 2016
Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. Here are five reasons why it is important that we are aware of mental health issues - particularly in the workplace.
(1) Healthy employees make for a healthy workplace
In Scotland, there is a fantastic campaign called See Me which talks about mental health in the workplace. It can be challenging to create a mentally healthy working environment but there is a strong business case for getting it right. BT, for example, reported that its mental well-being strategy has led to a reduction of 30% in mental health-related sickness absence and a return-to-work-rate of 75% for people absent for more than six months.
(2) Traumatic events impact on our mental health - and we might not realise it
The Mental Health Foundation has a great post about this. When we experience a traumatic event - for example, a road accident, violence, serious illness or a natural disaster - then your body's defences kick in and creates a response to this stress.
This is normal - but, if we are not aware of them and if these feelings persist, then they can lead to more serious mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. It is important to be aware of the impact these events can have on you.
(3) Be aware of others mental health
The theme of this year's World Mental Health Day is 'Psychological first aid'.
Learning the basic principles of psychological first aid can help you understand what to say - and, importantly, what not to say - to those who have experienced a traumatic event.
There are some fantastic basic and pragmatic resources available on the World Health Organization website to help those who would like to understand this more.
(4) Suicide is a continuing problem and is more serious in deprived areas
In Scotland, there were 672 suicides in 2015. The rate for males was more than two and a half times higher than for females. In deprived areas, the rate was more than three times higher between 2011 and 2015 than the least deprived areas.
(5) The Power of Okay
Another fantastic campaign by See Me highlights the Power of Okay. Simply, showing that you care can really change someone's life.
It is easy to take the path of least resistance in the workplace by saying nothing. But making it easier to talk about mental health can help end the perceived shame and stigma and remove the barriers to speaking out such as fear of losing your job, being moved to another post or missing out on promotion.
You can take part in World Mental Health Day by having a Tea & Talk. Why not get a group of friends or colleagues together, put the kettle on, have a natter and make a donation.
Written By Billy McDiarmid