The World Health Organisation has marked today as World Health Day and this year’s focus is on the issue of mental health in the workplace. Lately the topic has become more prominent in the media and that brings about an increased awareness around personal mental health care. However the discussion in the workplace is only just starting.

Mental Health in numbers:

Business in The Community, along with YouGov, published a study that outlines the current situation in the UK.

  • 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem in 2016
  • 31% of employees have been diagnosed with a mental health issue at one point or another; this number has increased by 2% in comparison to 2016
  • 13% of employees have spoken about their situation with a manager
  • In 15% of the cases in which an employee has disclosed the situation of their mental health being to their manager a disciplinary action, dismissal or demotion has followed
  • 24% of Managers have received training in mental health being

Where are we at?

There seems to be a steady progression towards increased awareness of mental health wellbeing in the workplace. Figures show that:

  • 53% of employees feel comfortable enough that they can receive support in the workplace if the disclose their situation
  • 76% of those who have needed support feel like their colleagues care
  • 91% of managers are of the opinion that work can affect the wellbeing of employees
  • 84% of managers accept the responsibility of looking after their employee’s well being
  • 49% of managers would gladly accept further training on the topic

This trend is largely influenced by the fact that many companies are becoming proactive when in caring about their companies. Examples that stand out are Santander, Heineken, P&G and National Grid who all have dedicated Wellbeing teams that take steps to create a  continues conversation around the topic. This also includes individual support for each employee.

Public figures have also become more outspoken on the topic. Prince Harry recently gave a speech in support of mental health care.  In it he stressed the importance of identifying issues early and promoting a healthier, more self-aware way of living. Adele, J K Rowling and David Beckham are just a few of the many who have shared their struggles with mental health issues.

How can we help?

Opening up space for conversation is the first step towards understanding the causes and potential solutions to mental health care problems. This will encourage more people to ask for and receive help. Having a designated staff member in the office that is trained in dealing with such issues and is capable of listening, free of judgement would encourage employees to disclose their situation. Showing the necessary level of discretion while taking the required steps to help will results in happier, more productive employees that will remain loyal to the company.