Mental health problems are something that many of us will experience. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation 4 out of 15 employees in Europe deal with mental issues. Whether those issues come in the form of depression, anxiety or even stress, there comes a point where even those who appear to be completely free of mental health issues need a little break. That’s because all of us have had to deal with our own mental health at some point or another, whether we are fully aware of it or not.

Everybody has mental health

While mental health is not as obvious as having a blocked nose and a box of tissues at your disposal, its hidden nature means that taking a personal day off work becomes a task riddled with guilt and, in the end, more stress and anxiety. It’s also a sure fire way to tell yourself that no one will believe you. One of the most important things to know is that if you’re feeling that your mental health is becoming too difficult to handle, it is likely that your boss, your friends and colleagues have had similar experiences, too. You are definitely not alone and there are people in your work place that can help.

Many employees feel that they have very little control of their lives. Mental health has a stigma attached to it and, in these uncertain economic times, we have fears that even talking about our own wellbeing may jeopardise our employment status. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health estimates that one in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental health condition and it’s reported to cost employers an indirect amount of $100 billion dollars. That’s no small change. It’s imperative then that employers become more aware of mental health, hire appropriate talent and create trainings in order to address this growing issue in our society. After all, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health also states those 80% of individuals with depression will recover fully with appropriate diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.

Are managers equipped?

Managers do want to help but sometimes they don’t know how. Lucyna Bolin, Talent Development Manager of PageGroup aims to change that: “it is important to be resilient, reflective and analytical as managers, especially with regards to employees While mental health issues are rising, which is not a surprise, and we found that time and time again when looking at the feedback we receive, employees increasingly don’t seek large pay rises or particular job titles (although these are still important to pursue) but instead employees want time with their managers – managers who take the time to listen to their employees concerns and who take a genuine interest in them. It’s about connection and having a sense of purpose. That’s why we’re building a better programme at PageGroup to address these issues.”

Many employees work long hours. Often out of a desire to prove that we are important or out of a sense of duty. This has a negative toll: exhaustion, burn out  and depression. To get the most of out of life, all we need is the liberty to take control of our time and manage it appropriately so that we all collectively feel more empowered and have better mental health days.

Starting a new trend

Lucyna Bolin goes on to say that “it’s better to start with managers and train them. When you give them the tools and knowledge, it will trickle down the teams. It is about creating a proper, genuine working relationship with manager and employee. When we develop the emotional intelligence of our managers, the aim is that the overall wellbeing and mental health of all employees will rise.”

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Managing mental health issues such as depression anxiety disorders and more can be very complex in the workplace but necessary to promote inclusiveness and support employees. Burn-out, stress and work-life balance is increasingly becoming part of our vocabulary.
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