Today, October 10th, marks the annually recognised World Mental Health Day. It is an opportunity to help promote the continued fight for awareness and support of the taboo subject - mental health.
The World Federation for Mental Health helped drive this day to become an annual event since its launch in 1992. The aim is to continue open dialogue about the issues people face worldwide and to address this reality suffered by so many on a day-to-day basis.
How common are mental health issues?
According to Mind, the mental health charity, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will face a mental health problem each year. Stresses such as money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.
More than often, people believe that it is best to stay silent in fear of the negative response they may face. This can then turn into a vicious cycle and further develop more negative feelings, thoughts, actions and habits.
Mental health and finding employment
It’s not surprising to know that finding employment can be a really stressful process.
The inability to find a job can make you feel a range of emotions, such as stress, anxiety and depression. You will have expenses to pay, bills, family costs and housing which will add to the tension. Unsuccessful applications and interviews may make you feel even more deflated.
However, with this day being celebrated and with the access of plenty of job sites, job fairs, recruitment consultants and volunteering opportunities, there is a lot of help out there for you.
Mental health at work
Working can bring its own stresses. The workplace is sometimes a hard place to cope and avoid the pressures of the job which is why promoting mental wellbeing is so paramount.
Common stresses at work are:
High workloads/insufficient workloads
Unreasonable deadlines and targets to meet
Bullying and harassment
Low level of pay, job security and job prospects
There is still stigma attached to mental health issues which is why today is a today to break more barriers and to encourage everyone to push this taboo subject out.
Therefore, concerns such as: being singled out, targeted or discriminated because you have spoken up about how you feel will not hold you back from getting help.
Ways of promoting mental wellness at work
With World Mental Health Day in mind, there are lots of ways to promote mental wellness at work. It is important to know that how you feel is natural and not unusual.
Talking about how you feel is the first step to getting the support you deserve. Speaking to a colleague, manager or someone away from the workplace who you trust is a good idea to get your thoughts and feelings out in the open.
Also, connecting with organisations such as Mind and Time To Change are a good idea. They have professional advice and support locally and online.
It is helpful to take time out if you are feeling overwhelmed at work. Having a break to unwind and declutter your thought process (and desk space) can help make your day at work more productive.
Move around at work. Getting up (if you are in an office based position), walking around and talking to colleagues, clients and managers will help you stay active at work and encourage ongoing communication. Going out for lunch instead of having it at your desk is another great way of getting you out of the workplace routine. A breath of fresh can help.
A common point, but eating nourishing food packed full of those juicy vitamins and minerals, and drinking plenty of water will help to detox your system. This is a good approach forward; a healthy, active body will help boost a healthy mind.
Another obvious one but lack of sleep can really throw us off course and have a subtle but negative impact. It can have a direct impact on our feelings, thoughts, performance in tasks, memory and generally overall wellbeing. Sleeping well is paramount so try and snooze sooner rather than later.
Some organisations practise mindfulness which is being mindful about your thoughts, emotions and surroundings. The ethos is: being in the present moment. Therefore, concentrating on the here and now, rather than the past or future is the main focus of this renowned worldwide practise.
What employers can do to help?
It is vital that mental health is promoted more within the workplace. The positives, negatives and support that is available within the organisation and outside should be accessible to employees. Educating the staff and managers in order to remove the taboo associated with mental health is also another method to getting the word out there.
On the whole, there is a plethora of information, advice and support out there related to mental health. And, thanks to days like today, World Mental Health Day can be celebrated worldwide and move forward in reaching out and helping people with their mental wellness and wellbeing.