With 350 million people suffering from depression and 11 million working days lost we do not have a moment to lose in tackling the problem of mental health issues at work. Recent research has shown that 56% of employees feel very or fairly stressed, and that for 52% of them, it is due to excessive workload.
Norman Lamb has asked the FTSE top 100 to sign up to a charter for better mental health at work – which is vital, but what can you do right now?
Some simple changes to your environment are the easiest ways to start building your Mental Health First Aid Kit:
1. Review the emotional environment – Accept that emotions are normal, and that not expressing them in a normal way may be a result of the environmental constraints. Do we allow people to be human, or is there an awful lot of stiff upper lipping going on? Do we tolerate human emotion, or shun it? Honestly? get to understand the way that emotions work, and lets share that understanding so that we can all be Mental Health First Aiders
2. Create environments that increase serotonin levels – relaxed outdoor spaces are best…or just encourage a walk in the brisk autumn sunshine at lunchtime. It will increase the neurotransmitter that makes us feel calm and happier.
3. Encourage people to connect with each other – when people feel stressed they can reduce the negative effects of stress by emotionally connecting with another human being. Alternatively, bring you dog to work for the day…this may not always be practical, but cuddling your dog is a good way to reduce your stress levels!
We ALL have Mental Health – its not just “other people” – so lets make work healthy.
I’d love to hear what other simple ideas you think we could put into our Virtual Mental Health First Aid Kit…Join me for Tea and Cakes at Charing Cross Hotel, Strand, London on 20th February 2015 to find out how to become a Mental Health First Aider…