Got the business blues? Let's talk about mental health at work

Got the business blues? Let's talk about mental health at work

Not so long ago you'd be crazy to mention a mental health issue at work, pardon the pun, never mind explore it with your colleagues, ask for help from the HR department, or seek support elsewhere in the company. Mental ill health was a no-no, something you kept to yourself, were maybe even ashamed of, too scared to mention in case people thought badly of you, avoided you, or even sacked you.

In recent years things have changed, and while there's a still a long way to go the situation has eased considerably. More of us are talking freely and openly about our mental health, partly thanks to the sheer number of celebrities, politicians and other prominent people who have 'come out' to reveal their experiences and talk about the impact of mental illness.

This new level of tolerance makes a lot of sense when so many of us suffer a wobble of some kind or other, at some time or other. In fact anything between four and ten percent of Brits experience depression at some time during our lives, anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause a fifth of sick days in the UK, and one in six British adults suffers from one common mental disorder or another, things like anxiety, stress or depression. (

In a landscape like this, where in general mental health issues are treated with more respect and approached with less fear than they ever have been, it makes sense to ensure the people who work for you enjoy the best possible mental health. It makes business sense as well as social and cultural sense, simply because happy, well-adjusted, un-troubled people suffer from less absenteeism, have fewer sick days, are less likely to be signed off work for long periods of time, and tend to be more productive, more creative, more proactive, more collaborative. And that's the type of good stuff every successful, profitable, growing business needs.

Research by MIND into mental health in the workplace

Research by the mental health charity Mind into workplace stress reveals how a culture of fear and silence around mental health costs British businesses dear. 21% of people quizzed said they'd called in sick to avoid work thanks to workplace stress. 14% said they'd actually resigned because of it, and 42% claimed they'd thought about resigning because of stress at work. 30% disagreed with the statement 'I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed' and 56% said they'd love to do more to improve staff well-being but they don't feel they have the right training.

It looks like there's a clear and present need to bring workplace mental health issues in from the cold, examine them openly and positively, and do everything possible to help. Luckily MIND has stepped in with a number of excellent free and paid-for resources to help businesses like yours do exactly that.

Mental health resources for business – Free from MIND

Poor mental health is Britain's number one reason for staff absence. Mental health training from MIND is a low-cost way to promote mental well-being in your business. Here's what MIND is offering. Take a look for yourself – will any of these help you to help your workforce?

Lots of free resources to help improve mental well-being and improve employee engagement

  • A newsletter to sign up to
  • A Workplace Wellbeing Index to register with, designed to help employers celebrate the good work they're doing to promote staff mental well-being, and get the support they need
  • A selection of excellent training courses and consultancy for groups and individuals
  • Free 'Guide to Wellness' action plans
  • An 'influence and participation' toolkit to help you understand why and how active participation by people with mental health issues can have a strong positive impact on your business
  • Staff well-being booklets to buy
  • Corporate partnerships with MIND
  • An extensive Mental Health at Work Gateway to tap into

Happy people do better business. If someone at your place is struggling in silence, it's time to talk.

If your staff are getting overwhelmed with their workload don't forget that Sussex Business Bureau provides a range of services that may help including: Call Handling, Virtual Assistant support, and Business support (Organising Business meetings, handling your marketing and database management)

To find out more call Jo on 01273 447111 or email [email protected]