Mental Health Awareness week takes place this year between 15th to 21st May 2023 and this year the focus is on anxiety. During this week, employers can raise awareness and highlight the importance of mental health, both in the workplace and in life in general. This could be achieved by bringing in specialists with the knowledge to educate, who can set up workshops or tailor a company wellbeing event/day where everyone can get involved.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can be considered as one of several conditions under the umbrella term for mental health. Anxiety carries with it a range of symptoms that can vary from physical, to emotional, to mental, including sweating, breathlessness, feeling tearful or difficulty concentrating, or avoiding places and situations that create anxiety (examples taken from nhs.uk – see website for range of symptoms and suggestions for support.)
What’s important to remember is that anxiety is a natural emotion where, ‘most people feel anxious or scared sometimes, but if it’s affecting your life there are things you can try that may help.’ (nhs.uk) The causes of anxiety can be external, such as a difficult life situation or event, or exacerbated by a current situation, which could include the workplace; but whatever the cause, it is worth noting that the support is there, in a multitude of forms.
What can we do to help those with anxiety, or prevent it from affecting us?
Awareness is key. Being able to recognise visible traits in others, or the individual is one way of enabling the correct support is sought at an earlier stage. It is worth noting that it is Knowledge of the symptoms, or seeing a pattern of changes in a person’s behaviour could be a sign that someone is struggling but may be unaware, or reluctant to ask for help.
There are many ways to manage both stress and anxiety, such as finding an exercise that helps with relaxation such as yoga or mindfulness classes, having someone to talk to, or self-management. See Mind.org.uk for various self-help suggestions, or further support links and charities, if the individual would like further help. The NHS also offer a service where ‘you can refer yourself directly to an NHS talking therapies service without a referral from a GP.’ (nhs.uk)
Mental Health in the workplace
Mental health is now at the fore of most companies’ procedures, with workplaces adapting and improving their techniques to help support their colleagues and employees. In order to ensure a standard of care to employees, in 2017 the government requested a ‘core set of standards’ to be created, which are evident in a document known as the ‘Thriving at Work’ Report, Stevenson/Palmer Review (see GOV.UK for full report) It both highlights the effects of mental health in the workplace and recommendations for businesses to implement.
Mental Health in the workplace: what can be done
One positive example of improved mental health awareness in the workplace are the inclusion of workplace workshops, such as those provided by Joyful Living, where workshops such as Mental Health First Aid Training or Mental Health Awareness courses, for both employees and employers can be brought in-house and provided on site. See JoyFul-Living.co Services page for more details.
Equip your team with the ability to address mental health at work. Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognised education and training programme, approved by the Royal Society for Public Health. The course will equip the company with mental health first aiders, who will have the knowledge to support colleagues in need, thus complying with legal obligations and government recommendations on Mental Health in the workplace.
Support your team’s wellbeing with Mental Health Awareness workshops for employees, ideal to open-up the conversation and promote awareness of mental health in the workplace. Our Awareness workshop will provide a good understanding of mental health and useful information to support employees in looking after their own mental health.
Equip Managers with enhanced knowledge ability to notice and support employees who may be struggling with mental health issues, thus helping promote a positive work environment.
Working from home is the new normal, but it also poses challenges for employees, with more isolation and difficulty in separating work and the home environment. This workshop will help employees reduce stress levels and better manage their workday.
Equip employees with the knowledge to balance the demands of work and personal life in order to support employee mental and physical wellbeing and help businesses maintain productivity in the workplace. This workshop will discuss how to avoid being overwhelmed by the working day and how to use wellbeing practices at home to relax and re-energise body and mind.
Help employees eliminate the habit of self-criticism, hence boosting personal self-esteem and confidence and performance in the workplace. This workshop will help companies foster mental health in the workplace.
Considering that depression is one of the mental health issues affecting employees, this workshop will help employees cope with difficult thoughts and emotions and deal with depression more effectively, thus helping foster better mental health in the workplace, with great benefits in terms of human potential, staff retention and financial costs for the company.
Financial concerns are among the causes of stress for workers, hence from a company perspective it’s important to support employees. The workshop will provide participants with an understanding of financial wellbeing and information on how to maximise their finances, helping them feel more confident and secure about their situation.
Nutrition affects our physical and mental health, for example through our hormones levels. This workshop will explain why nutrition affects mental health, how ailments such as diabetes can affect our brain and how to heal from within. It will also discuss lifestyle tips such as breath work to promote calm and manage anxiety
- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/thriving-at-work-a-review-of-mental-health-and-employers – Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Department of Health and Social Care/Department of Work and Pensions, Research and Analysis, 2017, Thriving at Work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers