Expert comment - Mental health in the United Kingdom workplace, is enough being done?


Childline, which is run by the NSPCC, has reported a 26 per cent increase in the number of counselling sessions with children about mental health issues over the past four years. By proactively engaging racing staff with the campaign, Racing Welfare hopes to ensure that all those working within the industry know that the charity have a range of support services available should they or someone they know be struggling with their mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Week is, therefore, an important opportunity for everyone at work to think about how they consider mental health in their working environment.

County schools can also access the Northamptonshire Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme, a multi-agency partnership which helps schools and teachers with training about mental health issues. Across the generations surveyed, only 14% of employees said they were comfortable talking to their manager about their stress.

In the rail industry, stress and mental health are the leading cause of long-term absence, although the RSSB says that the industry has made great strides in ending the stigma and breaking down barriers to people being open about their own mental health.

So far the team has dealt with more than 2,300 people in mental health crisis.

And mental health conditions such as work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.8 million sick days past year, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Overall, around half of respondents agree that their organisation encourages openness about mental health, is effective at supporting people with mental ill health and actively promotes good mental well-being.

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The NSPCC said some young people had told Childline that they only received specialist support when they reached crisis point, and have even asked Childline counsellors to act on their behalf to get help quicker.

It's clear we have some way to go before the majority of workplaces achieve parity of esteem in the attention that good mental health receives compared with physical health, and the confidence and openness with which this aspect of health is treated.

"Workers who reported being stressed by this factor were 20 times as likely to have high or very high levels of distress. Many of us can feel like we need to wear a mask and pretend that we are going when we're not".

"75% of people believe mental health is becoming one of the most significant risks to the nation's wellbeing, which is a crucial takeaway point during this Mental Health Awareness Week".

Other proactive steps to build a mentally healthy workplace include delivering mental health first aid training, to provide a pool of people trained in understanding mental health who can offer support or signposting.

Much of the stress in the report circled back to the workplace, as they reported that half a million people were suffering as a result of it. Unsurprisingly, London has previously been cited the most stressed city in the United Kingdom with rigorous overtime and horrific commutes while on the other hand Doncaster was as stress-free as a British city comes.