Are we in a full mental health recession?

The world had still not recovered from the 2009 Great Recession when COVID-19 hit. We faced another global recession that lasted for nearly a year. And now, we’re about to face our third one. People can’t afford heating and food. Our mental health is at an all-time low. How is HR coping?
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Are we in a full mental health recession?

You only need to glance at a newspaper or website anywhere in the world to know we’re currently living in trying times. Still caught in the slipstream of the pandemic and the physical and mental health implications of lockdown, we’re now also facing a global economic downturn that is pushing many people to breaking point.

New statistics released by the HSE show that of the 400,000 increase in work-related illnesses, 300,000 relate to mental health conditions. The cost-of-living crisis is causing cases of mental health issues to skyrocket. Recent ONS figures suggest those struggling to pay rent or bills are more likely to suffer from depression on a moderate or severe level. 

To exacerbate the issue, the NHS is still under unbelievable pressure, meaning people who desperately need support face lengthy waits. Research from The Royal College of Psychiatrists towards the end of last year showed that nearly a quarter (23%) of adults with mental health issues had to wait more than three months before starting treatment. Almost half (43%) say this has worsened their mental health, with some becoming so desperate that they are calling 999 or visiting A&E to seek help. Even GPs are advising patients to seek alternate means of treatment.

These truly are trying times.

Employers should consider bringing in health coverage that includes all aspects of mental health treatment.

With the nation’s mental health on a knife edge and the NHS struggling to keep up with demand; on top of that, the HSE has said improving mental health in the workplace is one of its key strategic priorities for 2023 – what role do employers have in ensuring their talent is protected and supported?

Attribution should be Robert Common, Founder and Group CEO of recovery and therapeutic centre The Beekeeper House, has shared his expertise with HR Grapevine readers, below.

Spotting the signs

When someone is starting to struggle with their mental health, they may not recognise the signs themselves until they hit a crisis. Work is often one of the first places where mental health challenges manifest in behaviour, mood or attitude changes. For instance, if someone becomes disengaged, frequently misses deadlines or has difficulty maintaining their schedule or prioritising their responsibilities, this could indicate a problem.

Physically, they may be paying less attention or care to their appearance. They may exhibit changes in eating habits, resulting in weight gain or loss. Because many mental health issues play havoc with our sleeping patterns, they may also be heard complaining of tiredness, which may also show up in their physical appearance.

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