Let's Talk About Mental Health

Let's Talk About Mental Health

World Mental Health Day took place on October 10.  The 25th annual day inspired many to come forward with their stories about struggling with mental health, and helped to spark a conversation about prevention and awareness.  This year's World Mental Health Day was focused on the topic of mental well-being in the workplace, and for good reason.

Unfortunately, many feel that mental health is a taboo topic.  In a survey conducted by Developing People Group, more than a quarter of the 1000 participants (26%) had taken a day off work due to stress or another mental health problem, and lied about the reason.

The term, "mental health" encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  Signs and symptoms of an issue can vary significantly from person to person.  Because of its broad definition and ranging symptoms, it may be difficult for those suffering to come forward, or for their peers to know when to reach out.

Mental health is a crucial facet of our overall well-being. Individuals who have high levels of well-being are more productive at work and more likely to contribute to their communities.  Therefore poor mental health is not simply an issue that affects the individual- it can impact the workplace, the family and the community.

Pleasant emotions are more closely associated with having supportive relationships.  Feeling safe and supported helps foster strong mental health.  Creating an environment where people can fell free to speak about mental health without fear of discrimination will make it easier to reach out for help when needed.

On the work front, DPG suggest that appropriate training for managers, HR staff and those in leadership positions needs to be made available.  Proper training will allow managers to build trust and rapport with staff, and will equip them with the knowledge of what to say, when to step in and how to support individuals.

The Mental Health Foundation published the How to Support Mental Health at Work guide, an excellent resource to help manage our mental health at work, and how to recognize when to lend support to colleagues who may be suffering.  By coming together and embracing the need for open dialogue, we can create workplace environments that are healthy for all.

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