Challenging the mindset around workplace wellness

From reducing stigma to tackling cyber bullying, Condeco looks at how organisations can be better prepared to improve mental health in the workplace

Awareness of mental health at work has come a long way since it was a taboo subject, barely whispered about by senior managers within organisations. With almost 15 per cent of people in the UK having experienced mental health problems in the workplace, it has a huge impact on individuals, the workplace and the economy.

According to UK Government statistics, better mental health support in the workplace could save UK businesses up to £8 billion per annum – 13 per cent of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

Overcoming the stigma

While progress has been made in acknowledging mental health in the workplace, a recent survey showed that almost two-thirds of individuals believe there is still a stigma around it and more than half fear that their colleagues will judge them.

Time to Change, an organisation set up to tackle the stigma around mental health in the workplace, set up an action plan for organisations to follow regarding mental health, based on seven key principles:

  1. Demonstrate senior level buy-in
  2. Demonstrate accountability and recruit employee champions
  3. Raise awareness about mental health
  4. Update and implement policies to address mental health problems in the workplace
  5. Ask staff to share personal experiences of mental health problems
  6. Equip line manager to have conversations about mental health
  7. Provide information about mental health and support services

Impact of cyber bullying

Bullying is not something that stops when you leave the school playground. Research from the iSafe Foundation found that 75 per cent of workers have been affected by bullying at work. Often technology is used as an enabler to facilitate anonymous comments about or to colleagues, which aim to put them down or humiliate them.

These comments can have significant psychological effect on how an individual feels and performs at work. It is important to establish an organisational culture where people support their peers and create a genuine sense of workplace wellness.

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