A recent study by AXA PPP healthcare reported that 35% of people living with mental ill health are not open about their condition at work.
More than half of the respondents to the study also stated that they didn’t seek professional help because they didn’t want to admit they needed help.
The stigma attached to mental illnesses exists in every workplace, and while it’s a bigger issue than one office changing their approach, by creating an environment that handles the subject more effectively, you can help make a step in the right direction.
These statistics suggest that a lack of communication around mental health illnesses can be the reason employees struggle to seek professional help. The reluctance of to be open about a mental health condition at work may be from the fear of repercussions from employers, and suggest an unsupportive work environment.
In order to encourage your employees, you should actively seek to create an environment where workplace wellbeing is a top priority. To do this you should ensure your staff have a good work/home balance by creating an open line of communication. Ask them about how comfortable they are at both work and home, and make conversations as casual as possible.
Organising social activities for your staff will also create an inclusive environment that advocates open communication. Being able to speak outside work will encourage staff, and increase the likelihood of them coming to you with any problems.
If you’re still struggling to open lines of communication with your employees, staff surveys can be a good way of determining how they feel about your business’ attitude to mental health issues.
Staff will be more likely to provide a truthful overview of how the business handles employee health if they remain anonymous. Surveys can also provide ideas for improvement, so if you’re stuck for new ways to advance workplace wellbeing, your staff just might have the answer.
The future of mental healthcare in the workplace
While your business aims to improve the current mental health support in the workplace, there are changes being called for that affect how mental health illnesses will be dealt with in the future.
Free mental healthcare screenings in the workplace have been advocated by the director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare, Dr Mark Winwood.
Dr Winwood said, “Our research suggests that people living with a mental illness would value the offer of free screening for mental health problems, such as depression, in the workplace.”
This might not be a reality yet, but steps encouraging employees to seek help can improve the state of mental healthcare in the workplace and create conversations about such initiatives.
Have you got advice on how to approach mental health care in the work place? Leave a comment in the section below.
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