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Delving deeper into Mental Health

What is mental health?

Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience which enables us to survive pain, disappointment, and sadness. It is a fundamental belief in our own and others’ dignity and worth.

Mental health affects 1 in 4 people with 1 in 6 experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week. This means that most people either work or live with at least one person that has a health problem.

Here are some stats on mental health below:

Addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.
•1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (=14.7%)
•Women in full time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full time employed men (19.8 % v 10.9%)
•Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to a mental health condition
•90% of suicide victims have an untreated mental health condition
•Mental health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK
•Mental health is thought to cost UK employers approx. 26 billion per year

Good mental health at work and good management are aligned and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive.

Below are some examples of employers tackling mental health

United biscuits:
A decrease in work related “stress cases”, a reduction in absenteeism due to stress equalling approx. 40 work weeks) and an increase in awareness about work stress in Line Managers when specific mental health and wellbeing training was given

North Lanarkshire Council – housing and Social work dept.:
Following training, this council halved its sickness absence.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council:
Following training, the council reduced its sickness absence by 13,194 days in a year.

What happened to people’s mental health during the pandemic?

During the pandemic global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization.

One major explanation for the increase is the unprecedented stress caused by the social isolation resulting from the pandemic. Linked to this were constraints on people’s ability to work, seek support from loved ones and engage in their communities.
More than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) have said their mental health got worse during lockdown.
Many without previous experience of mental health problems have experienced poor mental health during lockdown and have seen their mental health and wellbeing decline.

During a MIND survey that was undertaken, one participant claimed the below:
“I normally have very good mental health… over the past month I’ve become more anxious about all sorts of things and been crying about things, which I don’t normally do. Some days I’ve slept very badly. I live alone and feel very lonely and isolated – not something that normally bothers me”
Loneliness is a key contributor to poor mental health – particularly for young people. Just under three quarters of young people (72%) said loneliness had made their mental health worse. So, what can individuals do to assist with their own mental Health?

•Connect with others: using human connection and friendship. Connecting with others in a positive, meaningful way can improve both thoughts and emotions.
•Get active: doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference.
•Be mindful: mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves. Understanding the sights, sounds, smells around us and therefore being able to see the present moment clearly.
•Keep learning: Adds meaning to life as well as improving self confidence and often increases social involvement with other like-minded people.
•Give to others: can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life as well as a positive distraction from any stressors affecting your life at the current time.

NPH Group can support employers with the mental health of their staff in a number of ways. For more information, please get in contact via our website at the link below: