World mental health day 2018< Back to Blog
Mental health issues affect 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children.
When you really think about this, the fact that poor mental health is so often misunderstood or stigmatised seems absurd!
While serious conditions like schizophrenia or bi-polar are quite rare, problems such as anxiety and depression are very commonplace. What that means is we must all know several people that are experiencing these issues right now (even if they don’t outwardly show it).
With today (10th October) being World Mental Health Day, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone that mental health and physical health are not such different things: both need to be taken care of.
So many different aspects of life can affect your mental health and wellbeing – family issues, relationship problems, loss and bereavement, abuse, money worries and loneliness to name a few. But, what about work?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, during 2016/17, over half a million people in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety! When it comes to construction workers, 76% say they have, at some point, suffered from stress in the workplace and 35% admit to having suffered with mental illness.*
Tackling stress at work
The bad news is that, people who experience feelings of stress are more at risk of developing a mental health problem like anxiety or depression. The good news is that nobody has to cope with stress alone.
The charity MIND has some really useful tips on how to improve your health and wellbeing in your everyday life and at work. Here’s just a sample of what they recommend in relation to some common stressful workplace situations:**
Problem with your workload
- Ask for help. Everyone needs a hand from time to time so discuss your workload with your manager. Talk about setting realistic targets and how you can solve any problems.
- Balance your time.Occasionally you may need to work longer hours to complete a task, but try to claim this time back later if you can. Don’t do too much at once. Give each task your full attention. It often takes longer if you try to do too much at the same time.
- Reward yourself for achievements.It is easy to focus on what needs to be done next and forget to reward yourself for what you have already accomplished.
- Be realistic. You don’t have to be ‘perfect’ all the time.
Poor work-life balance
- Take short breaks throughout the day as well as at least half-an-hour away from your desk/ work site at lunch (e.g. go for a short walk).
- Take some time off. If things get too much, taking a few days off or a long weekend can help you feel refreshed and actually increase your productivity in the long-run.
- Don’t let your life be work. Nurture your outside relationships, interests and your skills that your job doesn’t use.
- Develop end-of-day habits that will help you switch off from work. It could simply be something like tidying your desk or making a list of what needs to be done tomorrow.
Lack of support
- Make a ‘wellness action plan’to map out what is actually causing the stress and what keeps you well at work.
- If you don’t feel supported, communicate this to your boss if you can. If you feel you can’t talk to them, try to find someone that will listen (e.g. a human resources representative if you have one or another colleague).
- Develop good relationships with your colleagues. Connecting with them can help to build up a network of support and make being at work more enjoyable.
When it comes to dealing with stress at work or in other areas of your life, there are many other things you can try – engaging in physical activity, mindfulness, meditation or specific stress management techniques can all help.
Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a slice of wellbeing activity right now, follow this link – apparently, it’s just under seven minutes of the ‘most relaxing music ever’ – enjoy!
*Taken from a poll by A-SAFE published by the Building Safety Group
**Advice taken from the charity, MIND’s website