Let's talk about mental health

Let's talk about mental health
Let's talk about mental health

Jennie Doyle

Jennie Doyle

Head of Product and Marketing


With one in four of us experiencing a mental health issue in any given year1, it’s not a subject we can afford to shy away from. While there has undoubtedly been a great deal of media interest and conversation around mental health in recent years, many employers often struggle to tackle the issue head-on.

 However, it could not be more essential for companies to make a concerted effort to safeguard the mental health of their employees, given that around 560,000 workers suffer from work-related stress, anxiety or depression, according to the Health and Safety Executive.2

 Of course, for many CEOs and HR teams, mental health can seem a real minefield. It’s true that it’s an area that should be approached with caution; however, taking the initiative to learn about mental health in the workplace is the first step.

So, let’s consider what we mean when we say ‘mental health’. Broadly speaking, it includes everything from stress and anxiety, to depression, bipolar disorder and varying degrees of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Although poor mental health affects the individual, it can also have a massive impact on employers, including increased staff turnover and sickness absence, not to mention burnout, exhaustion and low staff morale.

There’s no easy way to approach mental health in the workplace, but there are certain signs to look out for, allowing you to point staff in the direction of support.

These include:

  • Psychological: Worry, distress, tearfulness, low mood, low motivation, loss of humour, poor concentration, pessimism, lacking in confidence.

  • Physical: Tiredness, headaches, appetite and weight changes, shakiness, sweating, difficulty breathing.

  • Behavioural: Increased smoking/drinking, irritability, anger or aggression, being late, uncharacteristic errors, increased sickness absence, overreaction to problems.

As an employer, it’s important that you don’t make assumptions about how someone’s feeling and ensure trust and confidentiality. Encouraging a work/life balance by offering flexible working hours, for example, will also show your staff that you’re serious about looking after their wellbeing.

To find out more about Health Shield’s clinically proven app, Thrive – designed to detect and manage workplace mental health – as part of our Tailored Health Cash Plan, which also includes
an Employee Assistance Programme, visit: www.healthshield.co.uk/thrive.

1 Health & Social Information Centre Social Care Statistics
2 Health and Safety Executive; Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain; 2017.

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