Fair Ways are truly supportive when it comes to mental health and how this can be addressed in the workplace and as such, encourage projects to tackle these issues. ‘Managing Mental Health Masterclasses’ is the latest example of this. These are aimed to support Managers in facilitating conversations surrounding stress and mental health and provide them the skills they need to tackle these sensitive matters effectively and with tact.
Everyone has mental health, it is important to respect it and try to understand how to support people both at work and in their home life. When 2 in 3 of people have experienced a mental health problem in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 2018) it should be at the forefront of managers minds. Managers and staff in the front line can make the biggest difference in mental health at work by reacting appropriately to signs of distress, maintaining contact and constructing practical return to work plans for those recovering from mental health problems.
On a personal note, my mum was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few years ago and had to take a few months off work. This affected herself and the whole family considerably, it’s hard to understand when people experience it differently and struggle to truly define what it is. Her workplace was unsupportive, made her feel vulnerable and as though she was at fault. It made me realise the importance of mental health awareness and that ones health is the most important thing, as you don’t have quality of life without good health and wellbeing. The sad thing about mental health is the stigma that is attached to it.
These personal experiences and findings from internal exit interviews and wellbeing focus groups at Fair Ways have highlighted to me a need for change in the workplace, and a need for visible support in the workplace. A common problem is that, whilst the support networks may exist, it seems they’re being drastically underused because people fear appearing weak.
Mental health has come a long way when it comes to creating an inclusive and supportive society, but there’s still progress to be made. Managers need to create an atmosphere of trust and respect, so that workers are never scared or unable to reveal their issues.