Talking about Mental Health

Mental health is something we all have. It doesn’t matter who we are – young or old, male or female. Anyone can experience periods of mental ill-health during their lifetime.

It’s easy to forget this. The modern world is busy; it doesn’t switch off, so neither do we. Our smartphones keep us in constant contact with our friends, family, work, the news and more. On one hand, this is great and brings so much convenience to our lives – but it can also be stressful. We may forget to prioritise our mental well-being or fail to notice when those around us are struggling.

There are four broad categories on the spectrum of mental health, which are:

  • People with a diagnosed mental health condition, who are unwell
  • People with a diagnosed mental health condition, whose condition is under control
  • People without a diagnosed mental health condition who are unwell (these are potentially the most vulnerable people, as they may have limited support)
  • People with good mental health

Clearly, mental health comes in many forms. According to ‘Mental Health UK’, one in four people is affected by a mental health problem each year so this is not something that can be ignored. For this reason, we are continually developing courses relating to mental health for the Development Zone.

These include:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work
  • Mental Health – Maintaining a Healthy Mind at Work
  • Anxiety in the Workplace Pathway
    • Module 1 – What is Anxiety?
    • Module 2 – Managing Anxiety
  • Approaching Mental in the Workplace (Scenario)
  • Mental Health and Gender Pathway
    • Module 1 – Mental Health and Men
    • Module 2 – Mental Health and Women
  • Introduction to Stress Management

Mental Health Foundation studies suggest that 90% of people with a mental health condition feel there is a stigma associated with mental ill health and that 67% of people would be reluctant to talk to their manager about mental health concerns. However, our research into these issues has shown that talking about mental health is so important. Bottling up our worries and not talking about how we are feeling can lead to a serious problem.

For those suffering with a diagnosed mental health problem, it can help to communicate this to managers and colleagues. Letting people know about their condition and how to deal with it should they become ill, may prevent a period of mental ill-health being misunderstood or poorly managed.

These issues can be particularly hard to deal with in the workplace. The world of work can be busy, fast-paced and high-pressured. It can also be slow, quiet – even boring. Everyone and every workplace is different, but the reality is that we spend a big percentage of our lives working. It is inevitable that this will have some impact on our mental health.

It’s not always easy to spot a member of the team who is struggling with their mental health, particularly as a person may hide or ‘play down’ their problems. Many people worry that they will seem weak or not be believed.

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that those suffering with a mental health problem at work may find it difficult to concentrate or take longer to complete tasks.  It found that 50% of sufferers are potentially less patient with customers.  Mental Health Foundation statistics suggest that some 70 million working days are lost in the UK each year due to mental ill-health, so it can result in employees missing out on work altogether.

These are all signs to watch out for, but they also highlight the serious impact that mental ill-health can have in the workplace.

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace can be immensely beneficial. People with good mental health are often more productive, more likely to make valuable contributions and will tend to interact better with their colleagues

Don’t fall into the trap that many workplaces do by thinking that mental health isn’t important or that issues will go away on their own. While mental ill-health is in some ways ‘invisible’, its impact is very real.

Understanding mental health is crucial in improving a workplace’s culture, so take a look at the mental health courses available on the Development Zone.

Don’t be afraid to bring mental health into the spotlight.

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About the author

Lisa is an elearning content creator with a Masters in Creative Writing. She joined the RWA team in 2014. She uses her excellent proof reading and writing skills to support her design work on the course creation team. Lisa enjoys the challenging aspects of making learning engaging and simple to follow.

Lisa Powell

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