World Mental Health Day: Workplaces need to recognise symptoms of mental ill-health

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| The European | 10 October 2019

Research conducted by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), England, the social enterprise offering expert guidance and training to support mental health in the workplace and beyond, reveals how some workplace triggers for mental health, and the signs of mental ill health are commonly misunderstood.

A OnePoll survey of 2,000 employed adults saw that on average, 56% of people were unlikely to speak to their line managers about a mental health issue, and a significant number of workers are unable to determine signs and triggers of mental health illness in colleagues.

The research also shows that:

  • Only 45% of men compared with 61% of women can recognise common symptoms of mental ill health e.g. sudden weight loss/gain, loss of humour or aggression, irritability
  • Only 48% of men compared with 63% of women recognise potential common triggers of mental ill health such as having children, working long hours, and redundancy
  • 72% of people don’t know a promotion could trigger a mental health issue
  • Over two-thirds (69%) of people don’t know that a change in line manager or getting a new job could trigger a mental health issue
  • Over half of employees don’t know that having children could be a trigger for mental ill health (53%)

This research indicates the importance of self-care and being able to spot the symptoms and triggers of mental ill health. Self-help tools need to be more readily available and there needs to be clear pathways to further support in the workplace.

This World Mental Health Day, MHFA England has partnered with Public Health England on the launch of its new self-care tool, Every Mind Matters. The new platform, will enable people to create a personalised action plan recommending a set of self-care actions to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and feel in control.

Commenting on the importance of World Mental Health Day, Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England said:

“World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us all to improve our own education on mental health, raise awareness and commit to tackle mental health stigma.

“At MHFA England, we have a vision to improve the mental health of the nation by equipping people with the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own and others’ mental health and wellbeing.

“This World Mental Health Day we urge organisations take a ‘whole systems’ approach to mental health. When wellbeing and mental health is central to workplace culture, considered in all workplace policies, a training priority and backed by senior support, all employees reap the benefits.”

For access to the new, free self-help tool Every Mind Matters and further information about putting more support and training into the workplace, visit: https://mhfaengland.org/.

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