Mental health problems will affect most of us at some point during our lives, with over 1 in 6 experiencing a mental health problem in the past week alone. It is one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide, so why don’t we talk about mental health and wellbeing as openly as physical health?
The stigma behind mental health – negative stereotypes where for example, people are perceived as lazy or dangerous – mean many can face rejection or judgement from others, where mental health problems are seen as personal weaknesses and not health issues.
In the workplace, many of those who suffer from poor mental health choose to keep their problems secret. The fear of rejection and discrimination around starting the conversation can delay the journey to recovery for many, and this stigma is likely to have a further negative impact on their mental health. In fact, nearly 8 out of 10 employees with poor mental health say the surrounding stigma prevents them from seeking help from their manager.
Removing the stigma behind mental health is imperative for the success of your organisation and the continued positive wellbeing of your staff.
What does the stigma cost your organisation?
As a manager, you can’t afford to not tackle the stigma behind mental health in your organisation. According to the Centre of Mental Health, the financial cost to British businesses of poor mental health is estimated at £26billion per annum – but introducing positive steps to improving the management of mental health can save organisations 30% of the cost of lost production and staff turnover.
As well as financial savings, tackling the stigma behind mental health and providing staff with support with their mental health can bring additional benefits to your organisation;
- Reducing costs from absenteeism and presenteeism.
- Retaining valuable members of staff, removing the need for a costly recruitment process to replace them.
- Creating an attractive place to work for recruitment purposes.
- Reducing the number of sick days taken by your staff.
- Creating an open and positive culture.
Creating an open culture
Creating an open culture in your organisation ensures your staff feel comfortable talking about their problems; and that includes their Mental Health. You will be able to understand your staff and ensure you know exactly how they want their mental health to be managed.
There are four main ways you can create an open culture in your organisation;
- Creating an awareness of mental health
- Starting the conversation about mental health with your staff
- Creating a mental health policy or Wellness Action Plan
- Introducing mental health training and support
By creating an open culture in your organisation, you will be able to manage both yours and your staff’s mental health and wellbeing in a more effective way, by addressing mental health and openly talking about it.
Overcoming the stigma behind mental health is a big responsibility, but as a manager, you have a unique opportunity to start the conversation and create an open culture for your organisation.
For more information on how we can help your organisation tackle Mental Health, take a look at our Lumien platform.