Mental health | Raising awareness at work

Director of Stress Matters James Capell-Abra talks about the importance of raising mental health awareness at work

22 Sep, 21

Wellbeing consultant of Stress Matters James Capell-Abra talks about the importance of raising mental health awareness at work

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I know, I know… Another article telling you about another thing you need to think about in addition to the million things on your to do list.

Hear me out though, because nailing this one can increase your ability to plough through that list and release more productivity from your team.

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Do you know how much time (and therefore money) is lost in your business due to mental ill health? Circa 55% of absenteeism is now due to mental ill health.

But a much bigger drain on time is actually when your team comes to work when they are suffering with their mental health and are therefore not working to their full capacity. We call this ‘Presenteeism’.

Presenteeism costs

Research suggests that presenteeism alone is costing businesses in the KBB industry circa £1,100 per employee per year.

If you could reduce mental health related absenteeism and presenteeism in your business, how much resource could that release?

What would the impact on your team’s wellbeing be? And what impact would that have on your sales figures, your customer feedback and ultimately, your profit?

So how can we do this? The first step is raising awareness.

Mental health awareness

Some of your team might be struggling but are not really aware of what mental health is or what self-care and positive mental health looks like for them.

You see, mental health is different for us all. Awareness is also about spotting signs and symptoms in others so that we can offer them the right support.

Here are my tips on raising mental health awareness in your team:

  • Talk freely about mental health – Lead by example by openly talking about mental health. Normalize it as a topic of conversation to help to reduce stigma and encourage colleagues to not feel shame about opening up about their stress or mental health.
  • Ask about self care – Asking your team about what they do to look after themselves can help them to reflect on what coping strategies they are using and whether they are helpful or not. This gives us an opportunity to encourage positive self care to help protect our mental health.
  • Support a mental health charity – Consider supporting a mental health charity and getting your team involved. Perhaps you could arrange a team challenge to help raise some money for them too.
  • Share highs and lows – Try getting each team member to share their highs and lows of the week in the weekly team meeting. You can celebrate the highs together and support each other with the lows.
  • Invest in training – Stress Awareness offers a half-day Mental Health Aware training course, which is a great way of upskilling your team. It’s accredited by Mental Health First Aid England and is less than £50 per person.