Removing the mental health stigma
This is a call to everyone. Despite increased awareness and a general willingness to be more open about mental ill-health, a certain level of stigma still remains. With new research suggesting that the coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on people's mental health, employers need to offer support and have systems in place.
One in three UK workers doesn't feel comfortable talking about mental health with their manager due to fear of judgement. That's staggering, but not surprising. Not because of the manager, but because mental health has an air of Voldemort, it 'mustn't be talked about'. If this sounds like a familiar statistic in your organisation, then the first step to tackling it is normalising how we talk about mental health. But how do you do that?
Last year, at the REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards, we hosted roundtable sessions to discuss ways to normalise mental health. We were lucky enough to be joined by delegates and HR professionals who represented a wide range of businesses and industries. They shared examples of successes and how this positive attitude towards mental health can create a preventive approach and encourage early intervention.
Some highlights from these sessions include:
- Being aware of demographics and understanding how different job roles or functions might experience mental health differently, depending on how work affects their mental health.
- Ensuring any mental wellbeing strategy or initiatives come 'from the top' and have leaders' backing throughout design, launch and implementation.
- Making the most of your health benefit providers – any provider worth their weight should be able to provide practical advice in this area.
- Some tangible techniques for making mental health 'normal' such as using mental health champions, sharing real-life stories, and speaking in everyday language.
Download the full REBA roundtable report