Mental health in the workplace cannot be ignored! A total of 91 million days are lost to mental health challenges every year and nearly half of all long-term sickness absences are caused by a mental health problem. In 2016 an independent report recognised the stigma and marginalisation faced by people with mental health challenges, corroborating a recent study which showed that the pay gap for people with mental health challenges is a shocking 42%. It’s time to blow the stigma out the water!
It is close to the hearts of all of us at Endaba, and particularly to our founder, Lynette Deutsch. Lynette has had personal experience with the impact mental health challenges can have on loved ones and passionately advocates ending the stigma attached to mental health problems in the workplace.
On September 15th 2016, Endaba is hosting an event to bring together senior HR professionals to work together to proactively challenge and find solutions to ending the stigma of mental health challenges in the workplace. The event will be supported by Made by Many, an innovation consultancy based in London and New York that works with global brands to build digital products and services to transform markets, as well as the mental health movement, Minds@Work.The movement is led by Geoff McDonald, former Global VP of Human Resources at Unilever with Georgie Mack, Managing Director of Made by Many along with Camilla Upson and Kevin Braddock (both also at Made by Many). Minds@Work aims to create more emotionally healthy and human workplaces where individuals can flourish and organisations prosper.
The workplace can offer a unique and effective environment to promote emotional and mental wellbeing. As a leader of an organisation, do you treat those with mental health challenges with the same compassion as you would a loved one, or do you believe this is not your responsibility and allow the stigma to continue?
It is everyone’s responsibility to end the stigma. It is not just an issue for HR to have to ‘deal with’. Employers must promote a healthy environment and ensure that when mental health challenges arise, employees feel they are able to be open, without being judged. Emotional wellbeing needs a holistic approach which addresses people’s multiple needs. These needs can be as far ranging as financial security, strong interpersonal relationships a good diet, enough sleep, a supportive and nurturing organisational culture and recognition for hard work; not everyone is the same and must be considered so.
There is no short-term solution or quick-fix; it needs to be a long-term commitment. Leaders can have a huge impact on supporting employees and taking important preventative measures to achieve lasting change. This will not only improve their employee’s mental wellbeing, but it will have a positive impact on their business:
Leaders should not fear managing mental health. It takes is an open mind, understanding and a positive shift in mind-set to enable organisations to make real progress in tackling the stigma often associated with mental health. It is a business imperative; an investment in employee wellbeing is an investment in your organisation!
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