Mental health: you can't afford to ignore it

11 October, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • NHS mental health staff are assaulted more than 42,000 times a year

"PHCC has ensured that mental health is integrated into the family physician's role".

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues and to get people talking about those issues. But if you're a manager or somebody higher up, take a look at what you can implement, and bring the message to your higher-ups that mental health is important.

The need to support mental health in workers is clear, but the benefits go beyond individual well-being. Sometimes it's just as important to take a mental-health day, a day off exclusively dedicated to giving your psychological and emotional health some TLC, to break away from the draining stress of everyday life-stress which, over time, could lead to major health problems if not properly dealt with.

Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day - a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues and fighting the stigma associated with it.

One in five employees thought it would be inappropriate to send flowers to a colleague who has taken time off work for an extended period of time due to their mental health.

And the problem of mental health seems to be especially acute among the members of the youngest generation - those aged 18 to 34 - of Canada's workforce. They're often well meaning, but many times they don't have a connection to the thing other than that they are good-hearted people who want to do the right thing by their employer - which is laudable. But if you don't address these mental-health issues, they will consume all other areas of your life.

"People were waiting in line for up to 45 minutes for a chance to speak to a mental health professional", said, Keane who obtained his Masters in health care policy and management from Harvard's School of Public Health. In the African region, lack of information, stigma and cultural issues are significant barriers that prevent people from seeking help.

The general consensus was that ensuring employee buy-in to any programmes can be hard, but that this requires not just focussing on Mental Health Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day, and other "one off" occasions, but encouraging a culture where employees actively engage with each other and with their line managers not just about mental health, but about life, workload and other matters freely and frequently.

"We still hear examples of mental ill-health being used as a form of casual insult".

Their Mental Health Pledge outlines a radical yet practical framework for businesses to support mental health in the workplace, so people can be themselves without any fear. Your bosses might not realize it's happening, or they might be participating themselves: making sexist or racist comments, or giving you the worst jobs because they just don't like you. They only need to be able to direct them towards appropriate support, such as the trained professionals at the end of an Employee Assistance Helpline (EAP), fast-track counselling service, HR department or even a charity helpline.

Only once there is a pragmatic response to mental health will people finally gain the confidence to start asking for the support that is so clearly needed.

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