If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter over the past couple of days you will know that it is Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. In order to promote better mental wellbeing, to destigmatise mental health issues and to get us to talk about our own wellbeing, the hashtag #MHAW17 can be seen across social medias, blogs and news sources.
We’ll be blogging some of the eskimosoup tips and experiences later in the week, though in the meantime we’ve summarised some of the wisdom around workplace good mental health in this short article.
Companies are actively promoting wellbeing within their buildings by hosting events such as Care Weeks, where employees are given opportunities to practice meditation, yoga, massage, nap times and other practices which offer a reflection period in what might be a stressful week. Many of these are practised at C4DI where we are based and are proving popular amongst many!
Even if you are in a career you love, many of us can’t help but feel a burden when not properly caring for ourselves. It can be easy to slip into a habit of working until burn out and pressuring ourselves beyond a healthy capacity. According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) in the UK, the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers, with stress being more prevalent in public sector industries.
According to HSE, there are 6 factors which can cause stress and other mental health issues at work:
Demands: Employees indicate that they are unable to cope with the demands of their jobs.
Control: Employees indicate that they are unable to have a say about the way they do their work.
Support: Employees indicate that they receive inadequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors.
Relationships: Employees indicate that they are subjected to unacceptable behaviours, e.g. bullying at work.
Role: Employees indicate that they don’t understand their role and responsibilities.
Change: Employees indicate that the organisation doesn’t engage them frequently when undergoing an organisational change.
We can all help each other reduce or even eliminate the issue of stress, especially for those we work alongside every day, sometimes it’s those around us who can help us identify an issue before we realise there was a problem in ourselves. Symptoms of stress can take form in emotional (negative feelings, disappointment, sensitivity or aggression, withdrawal and loss of motivation and confidence), mental (loss of concentration, poor memory and indecision or confusion) and behavioural (changes in eating habits, increased substance abuse, mood swings, change in sleep pattern, nervous behaviour or change in attendance such as lateness or increased time off).
If you do notice any of these changes within yourself, it’s best to speak to someone to address any issues. Speak to your line manager regarding any changes that can be made to reduce stress at work. You can also speak to your GP regarding actions you can take to help reduce stress within yourself but also to have an overall check up on your general health (mentally and physically) as many of these symptoms could also be a sign of other conditions.