On this, World Mental Health Day, what's your organisation doing to support better mental health at work? And just why is it so needed?
According to current estimates, more than half the world's population are in work. Meanwhile, around 15% of working-age adults are living with a mental health disorder. Do the maths. A significant proportion of the workforce are working with a mental health issue – whether that's caused by work, or otherwise.
The fact is, for most of us, our mental wellbeing is closely intertwined with our working lives. In itself, workcan cause mental health problems through stress, long hours, poor work practices and even, with the increase in remote working, isolation. Conversely, poor mental health can negatively impact our work - driving down performance, causing absenteeism, and reducing people's ability to gain and stay in work. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression and anxiety cost the global economy around US$ 1 trillion every year. Clearly, there's an urgent need for employers to do more to support better mental health in the workplace.
Guidelines on Mental Health at Work
Responding to this crisis, WHO last month published its Guidelines on Mental Health at Work. It provides wide-ranging guidance for organisations who commit to creating a mentally healthy working environment – covering best practice, training for managers, and guidance for individuals on managing their own mental health. It's a welcome move and one that supports and validates other local and national initiatives.
In good company
One such initiative is Mental Health at Work, a UK-wide programme launched jointly by Mind and the Royal Foundation. This provides an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to sign a pledge, committing them to building mentally healthy workplaces and giving the guidance they need to achieve it. In fact, our work on the project inspired us to train up two of the Thompson team as mental health first-aiders and to offer all our employees access to counselling and mental health support. Find out more about our work with Mind and The Royal Foundation on Mental Health at Work.
Even for a small business like ours, there's more to be done, but it's high on our agenda and an ongoing conversation with our team. Because we know, what's good for our people is good for our business.