1 in 4 humans have a diagnosable mental health illness in any one year, if you do not have the processes and structure in place to support Mental Health illness in the workplace that is a quarter of your workforce in a year that you are not identifying with, recognising and reflecting within your policies, processes, and procedures. Mental Health illness can affect anyone at any time, so with that in mind, you could potentially be excluding everyone in the organisation in some way. Mental Health illness isn’t one of the protective characteristics, but if in your organisation you want your whole workforce to be inclusive, you need to ask yourself ‘what now?’
In May 2019, A celebration of Mental Health Awareness took place, more commonly celebrated; Mental Health awareness week has taken a more predominant role in most organisations. I have seen so many fantastic approaches to celebrating Mental Health awareness; market stalls of wellbeing, extra time off, mindfulness taster sessions, Mental Health training, fundraising, lunch & learns and so much more.
I am so pleased to hear and see so many people joining in and the fantastic dedication and approach to celebrating becoming Mental Health aware my thoughts as always turn to ‘what now?’ How are you as an organisation planning on embedding MH awareness into your workplace continually and how is this approach going to impact your employees and your culture. I quite often speak to Directors, line managers and also employees who have ‘ticked’ the mental health box by completing training on Mental Health/resilience and or put in place, an EAP but yet do not have the processes and procedures that need to
go around this.
Having Mental Health First aiders is the 1st step into preventing crisis and act as signposting for anyone needing support when suffering ill mental health, with limited resources nationally it is an essential part of the workplace community. However, it is most definitely not a fix for Mental Health issues in the workplace, and if not implemented correctly can potentially do more harm than good. I urge you to look at your latest absentee reports, your staff feedback and strategies and think about ‘what now?’ if you want
to make a dent in the mental health and wellbeing of your workforce, let’s talk on how you can do this successfully without just ‘ticking the box.