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Mental Health is everyone’s business

The 10th of October 2017 is World Mental Health Day, a time to promote good mental health for all and reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions. The focus this year is on managing mental health in the workplace.

Mental Health conditions affects 1 in 6 adults in the workplace

Mental health is everyone’s business. 1 in 4 adults will be currently experiencing a common mental health condition. 1 in 6 of us will be experiencing this in the workplace. Whether we feel comfortable talking about it or not, stress, anxiety and depression is something that none of us are immune to, so let’s start to talk about it.

The cost of poor mental health to individuals and businesses is substantial. Mental illness affects people’s lives. It can interfere with our ability to maintain good relationships, carry out normal day to day tasks and affects our performance at work and our overall enjoyment in life.

Mental Health in the UK and the cost to business

The OECD estimates the cost of mental health to the UK economy to be £70 billion per year, equating to 4.5% of GDP. Mental ill health, alongside muscular skeletal problems are the leading causes of sickness absence in the UK and mental illness is on the increase. 15.2 million days of sickness absence in 2013 were caused by everyday conditions such as stress anxiety or depression – a dramatic increase from 11.8 million days in 2010. Mental ill health costs on average £1035 per employee, costing UK employers £26 billion each year (OECD, 2014). Presenteeism (the practice of being at work despite illness, injury, anxiety often resulting in reduced productivity) from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion per year, almost twice the business cost of actual absence from work (Centre for Mental Health). One-quarter of employees have considered resigning due to stress and a further one in ten has done so (Mind, 2015).

The statistics are pretty compelling, but the majority of businesses do not focus on managing mental health in the workplace or see it as a business priority. Why is this?  There will be many reasons for this, such as perceived time and cost pressures, although perhaps this could be challenged in view of the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism. A significant factor in reality is likely to be fear and stigma associated with mental health issues. In a survey carried out by MIND (2014) 69% of individuals feel there is a stigma around mental health and 54% fear colleagues would judge them for having mental ill health.

Looking after your business assets – your employees

We have a long way to go to break down the stigma associated with mental health and employers can play a vital role in this. Employees are often seen as the most vital asset within a business, therefore it makes sense to look after employees and by talking about and creating a working environment that supports good mental health employers can play a vital role in reducing discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness.

A useful starting point for businesses is to access good information.  Business in the Community (BITC) is a useful resource as well as Mind and the Mental Health Foundation. The BITC 2015 report, Mental Health: We’re Ready to Talk – One year on, shows the quick pace at which business Champion companies had started to promote mental wellbeing within their organisations. The Mental Health Foundations guide on Managing Mental Health in the Workplace is also a good read in my opinion and looks at strategies to safeguard good mental health, how to address problems before they become severe and how to support employees when issues do emerge. The guide recommends that companies seek the help of outside agencies who offer specialist support to employees who are struggling in or out of work due to poor mental health.

Accessing specialist Mental Health services in Norfolk

At Feel Well Therapy we recognise that employers need to access specialist services that provide the right type of help for their employees.  We specialise in providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is recommended by NICE (National institute for Clinical Effectiveness) as an effective therapy for treating stress, anxiety disorders (including GAD, panic disorder, OCD and PTSD)   and depression and Eye Movement Desensitisation Therapy (EMDR) for the treatment of PTSD.

Helping individuals to achieve good mental health is our business. Based in south Norfolk, we provide services to individuals, business, and insurers and feedback from our clients shows that 100% of those surveyed would recommend us to friends and family.

Whether you are an individual seeking private therapy, or a company looking to access specialist therapy services to improve the mental health of your employees then please contact us via our website at www.feelwelltherapy.co.uk or contact Michelle Webster Clinical Lead and Founder of Feel Well therapy at michelle@feelwelltherapy.co.uk or call 07957 350396

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