Mental health concerns affect one in six British workers each year and poor mental health is the leading cause of sickness absence (Chief Medical Officers’ Report).
As an employer, Suresite takes the responsibility of supporting the wellbeing of our people extremely seriously. Increasing numbers of workplaces are acknowledging World Mental Health Day each year on 10 October and there is a noticeable groundswell towards marking this awareness day.
But we believe talking about mental health should not be reserved for just one day of the year. Living with mental health concerns can affect every aspect of a person’s life -at home and at work-and we want our people to know that it is always a good time to talk.
This week, at our Monday catch up meeting, we signposted people towards factsheets about depression, anxiety and worry and reminded everyone about the excellent work carried out by the mental health charity MIND, including online information, helplines and counselling.
We also told the people who work here about this inspirational Tedx talk called Talking About Invisible Illness. It is well worth a watch whether you yourself have mental health concerns or are simply more interested in understanding how people can be affected.
Suresite sees itself as an advocate amongst SME employers for bringing discussion about mental health into the workplace. Our people manger, Janine Wilson, spoke to SME website Be The Business about how talking about mental health can be integrated into lots of different aspects of a business.
“Appraisals shouldn’t just be about work performance – they also need to look at employee wellbeing, both in the office and at home,” she said.
Suresite chief business development officer Keith Bevan was asked for his take on employee wellbeing for an article on NatWest bank’s SME portal.
“Solicit opinions and actively listen,” he said. “Foster a culture where people know that everyone’s thoughts count.”
In 2018, Employee Wellbeing magazine featured Suresite as a case study about mental health support in the workplace. The article talked about how we use posters, weekly catch ups and biannual presentations to showcase the mental health support we offer to all our people via provider Westfield Health.
In addition to a 24 hour confidential support line, our mental health package includes six face-to face or telephone based counselling sessions and access to medical and legal help.
We want to move towards a world where anxiety and depression are taken as seriously as physical health problems. We recognise that many still feel there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health and we aim to foster an environment where people feel safe to talk, feel listened to and ultimately feel accommodated. If we expect people to give of their best, then we need to equip them to do so. And helping them to take care of their mental health goes a long way.
Research from mental health charity MIND shows that in UK workplaces:
More than one in five workers have called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
14 per cent said they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’