Mental health in the workplace

One in five people in the workplace will experience a mental health condition, causing over 70 million working days to be lost each year. Managing mental health conditions (such as stress, anxiety, depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder) remains a challenge, despite the recent efforts of many companies to implement policies to support a healthy workforce.

As well as affecting individuals, poor mental health has a severe negative impact on employers, including increased staff turnover, absence, exhaustion, lack of motivation and decreased productivity. The loss to the economy, along with supporting people with mental health conditions, is thought to cost €240 billion per year in Europe. 

Mental health is still a taboo subject, and many people may feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work. To help end this stigma, the World Health Organization recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October every year to promote education and awareness about mental health. The theme for 2017 (set by the World Federation for Mental Health) is mental health in the workplace.

Here are some common signs that someone (including yourself) may be struggling with their mental health at work:

Behavioural

Are you finding that you:
  • Arrive late?
  • Don’t take lunch breaks?
  • Take unofficial time off?
  • Don’t engage in office ‘banter’?
  • Are becoming more introverted or extroverted?
  • Are acting out of character?

Professional

Have you noticed that you:
  • Are increasingly absent from work?
  • Have had a drop in motivation?
  • Have had a drop in productivity?
  • Have lost interest in work?
  • Are failing to meet deadlines?

Emotional

Do you feel:
  • Overly emotional?
  • Irritable?
  • Sensitive to criticism?
  • An uncharacteristic loss of confidence?
  • A loss of sense of humour?

Cognitive

Have you noticed that you:
  • Make more mistakes than normal?
  • Have problems making decisions?
  • Cannot concentrate?
  • Cannot perform as well as you normally can?

Physical

Do you feel that you:
  • Have a constant cold?
  • Quickly get tired at work?
  • Are failing to make an effort with your appearance?
  • Have had rapid weight loss or gain?

Spotting one or two of these signs does not always mean there is an underlying health issue. However, it is always important to look after yourself and try to make your workplace mentally healthier. The New Economics Foundation pinpointed five essential steps to improving well-being on a daily basis (see below), and these are a great way to start thinking about how you can improve your daily working life and ensure you get your ‘five a day’.

At Porterhouse Medical, we take pride in working together as a family, fuelled not only by hard work but also by humour and happiness. As well as being a registered Mindful Employer, we arranged an in-house mental health awareness training day in February 2017 to increase the support and awareness of employee well-being at work. We recognise that employees need a flexible work–life balance and the chance to relax and enjoy themselves, and we organise monthly social events to promote togetherness and help keep the Porterhouse community well connected.

We understand that poor mental health can affect anyone, on any day of the year, and we are happy to show our support for #WorldMentalHealthDay.

 

Here are some useful links on how to spread the word and get involved:

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/

Mental Health: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/get-involved

World Federation for Mental Health: https://www.wfmh.global/wmhd-2017/