Today, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day, a day which provides an opportunity for raising awareness of mental health and to progress ways to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. This year’s theme is ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’.
I recently trained to be a Mental Health First Aider for young people and am currently training to be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor for people who work with young people in the UK. My hope is that by raising awareness of mental health and enabling access to support, amongst young people, that before very long, today’s young people will be joining the workplace, some of whom will be involved in building strategies, allocating funding, making policies and being in positions to make positive changes to current attitudes.
The workplace is often the place we spend the majority of our waking hours and it may be a source of stress, anxiety, fulfilment, exclusion, inclusion, connections, personal development, growth, support, bullying to name but a few -most of which affect our mental health in a negative or positive way.
As employees we can help ourselves by taking responsibility for looking after our mental health …. we can treat ourselves well, eat healthily, take exercise, get enough sleep, spend time outdoors and socialise, taking time to do some of what we enjoy. We can limit and protect ourselves from destructive relationships and connections which are overly draining and negative too.
In the workplace, we can be supportive of our colleagues, be fair, kind and respectful and again protect ourselves from destructive behaviour which comes our way …..we choose to let other people’s behaviour affect us ……and the way people treat us is almost always about them!
As an employer, there is much we can do to support our employees’ mental health which, in the long run, is likely to reduce staff turnover and sick days and increase productivity -so all investments in this area are likely to be beneficial: valuing employees, giving positive feedback where due, providing comfortable working conditions, providing regular breaks and treating people fairly and respectfully are a baseline. Aiming to maximise fulfilment and supporting our employees in their own personal development is likely to result in a more productive happier workforce.
….And don’t forget to add a bit of humour. Laughter is definitely the best medicine for almost everything.
We attract the energy we give out, so with that in mind, being positive in our lives, and the workplace is likely to enhance our lives.