What is the World Mental Health Day?
World mental health day is held yearly on the 10th of October to raise awareness on the effects and causes of mental health since its inception in 1992. Fortunately mental health has become a bigger conversation in many places including our workspaces since then.
Recognition of its stigmas and effects on different communities and groups especially over a sustained period of time has brought about a sea of awareness and information that we were not privy to years ago.
For example, In the US, mental health statistics show people in the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to self harm than non-LGBTQ+ persons. Black people are more likely to be sectioned due to mental health than white people. And white people are more likely to commit suicide than black people.
Political unrest, inflation, COVID-19, social media, global warming are amongst the disruptions in our lives causing a significant rise in poor mental health. However the bright spark that has developed from these flames of chaos has been the adaptation and normalisation of mental health programs in most workplaces.
Examples of the progress that is being made or can be made this Mental Health Day 2022:
Increased investments in employees
Greater awareness of the contributions of mental stress in the workplace and the challenges presented from the ‘work from home’ culture has caused employers to create more incentives to encourage taking a mental health day. Paid leaves for mental health breaks are more common now with employers actively pushing policies that make it easier for employees to take time off to spend with family or even to recharge mentally.
Better flexibility in working hours and locations
COVID-19 changed many things including the way we conduct our work, what hours and where we do it from. According to CIPD, 33% of employers surveyed in the UK said homeworking had increased their organisation’s productivity or efficiency. Though the debate still continues many companies have embraced the importance of a work-life balance and introduced more flexible working hours. Initially, though reluctant, companies have now allowed it to become the norm and thus even making them more attractive in the jobs market.
Unlearning the stigma culture
Companies are beginning to disregard the idea that mental health is a personal issue and its treatment has no relevance within a workplace. Creating a stigma-free culture is very important to the improvement of mental health at work. No matter how many benefits a company provides it may not be helpful if there is still a stigma attached to mental health. Normalising discussions and the prevalence of mental health in the workspace as well as its causes and treatments helps increase a culture of acceptance.
Creating mental health risk assessments
A mental health risk assessment checklist is a form used to analyse mental health risks in the workplace and aids in the development of an action plan to control these risks. These checklists allow companies to access the signs of workplace stress of individuals within the workplace. It has become a good way to spot areas that create stress in the workplace thus giving the companies the chance to rectify and act fast.
Acknowledging the cause and effects of mental health on different communities
Diverse companies are learning that different groups of people experience the effects of mental health in different ways. Some groups are more likely to experience trauma in their everyday lives more than others, while others experience depression on a larger scale. It’s important to acknowledge these different effects, causes and symptoms and understand the importance of not dismissing the experiences of different groups as untrue or an exaggeration.