The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

Mental health is an integral part of our overall well-being, influencing how we operate psychologically, emotionally, and socially. As we mark this Mental Health Awareness Week at BDMAT, it is crucial to understand the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace, how it contributes to a positive working environment and how we can call positively impact it.

The Impact of Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing is not just an ‘add-on’ or ‘nice to have’; it’s an essential that enhances employee engagement and organisational performance. A study found that 81% of people reported their job negatively impacted their wellbeing or mental health. Furthermore, over a third of UK adults do not meet the recommended amount of physical activity, which is known to improve mental health.

The statistics on the Impact of poor mental health on UK employees is startling:

  • 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, or anxiety, accounting for more than half of all work-related illnesses.
  • 55% of workers feel that work is becoming more intense and demanding, while 61% report feeling exhausted at the end of most working days.
  • 64% of managers have considered quitting for a job that would better support their wellbeing.
  • 70% of managers cite organisational barriers to supporting staff wellbeing, including company policy, heavy workload, unsupportive workplace culture, and lack of necessary skills. 

Coping Strategies for Staff

Building personal resilience is integral to managing stress and improving mental health.  Here are some strategies employees can use to manage and improve their own wellbeing:

  1. Mindful Breaks: Take short breaks throughout the day. Step away from your desk, stretch, and practice deep breathing.  Use mindfulness apps or techniques to stay present and reduce stress.  Did you know you can access a curated  set of guided meditations and mindfulness exercises from Headspace via the Viva Insights app? 
  2. Set Boundaries: Clearly define work hours and avoid overworking.  At BDMAT we actively encourage staff to limit communications by email to working hours to allow staff to  disconnect during their personal time.
  3. Social Support: Connect with coworkers. Share experiences and feelings. Seek out a mentor or confidant at work.
  4. Physical Wellbeing: Our bodies and minds are interconnected. Regular movement not only benefits our physical health but also positively impacts mental wellbeing. Exercise releases “feel-good” hormones, reduces stress, and improves sleep quality. Prioritise sleep, nutrition, as well as exercise. A healthy body supports a healthy mind.   
  5. Stress Management: Identify stressors and find healthy ways to manage them. Practice relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation or visualisation.
  6. Time Management: Prioritise tasks. Break large projects into smaller, manageable steps. You can use a range of productivity tools within Office 365 , such as Planner and Lists, to help you do this.
  7. Seek Professional Help: If stress or anxiety persists, consider counselling or therapy.  We offer an Employee Assistance Programme through Health Assured where you can access professional services  

Recognising When Others May Be Struggling

Recognising the signs of mental distress in others is crucial.  Here are some top tips to recognising when your colleagues may be struggling.

  • Be Observant: Pay attention to colleagues’ behaviour. Changes in mood, withdrawal, or excessive stress may indicate someone is struggling.
  • Offer Support: Reach out to colleagues who seem distressed. A simple conversation can make a difference.
  • Normalise Seeking Help: Remind staff that seeking professional support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Encourage them to utilise employee assistance programs or counselling services 

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to recognise importance of fostering a supportive and understanding work environment.  Let’s work together toward better mental health and create a workplace where everyone thrives. No mind should be left behind.