Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. It is tied irrevocably to our general well-being
Most things in life affect how much pressure we feel – some is positive – but if it is too much, we can feel it as negative, and suffer a decrease in mental well being, we are ‘under stress’. Pressure leading to stress is a very common felt detriment to mental health.
Whilst thinking about the stresses we are under, most people’s mind will immediately turn to work. The stresses we experience at work can, however, have a strong negative effect on our home life and damage our overall well-being. This all, of course, can happen vice versa with stresses at home effecting work life showing the importance of monitoring employee mental health in the workplace.
Ignoring mental health in the workplace doesn’t make good business sense – research shows that FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and well-being outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10%.
We know that performance and effectiveness at work is largely dependent on mental health and well-being – with one in four of us experiencing problems with our mental health in the course of a year, organisations must understand that mental health in the workplace is an important issue for them and their staff.
Employers should expect that at any one time nearly 1 in 6 of their workforce is affected by a mental health problem. A study carried out by the University of Strathclyde on behalf of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) reported that on average employees take 21 days for each period of absence related to mental health.
Stress, although not a diagnosable medical condition, is a major part of many mental health problems. The sources of stress can lead to long term health problems and absences from the workplace.
Employers have a responsibility to support staff who may be experiencing stress, either work-related, or otherwise. The Health and Safety Executive’s Management Standards for Tackling Work-Related Stress highlight demands, control, support, relationships, roles and change as the main contributing factors.
Paying attention to these factors and their impact on the workforce can lead to increased productivity, lower absence, lower staff turnover and improved morale.
CiC are always happy to hear from organisations that would like talk about stress and its effect on mental health in the workplace.