Today is World Mental Health Day and this year, it is celebrating it’s 25th Birthday so is extra special.
It has taken the last 25 years (and many more) for society to make progress towards talking about and tackling mental health issues and the stigma attached and everyone will have their own ideas and experiences of how far we have come in that time. I wonder what the progress might look like in another 25 years.
This year the focus will be on work place well-being. The majority of us have to work to earn a living and so a focus on the workplace is important.
It is estimated that in 2015/2016, 11.7 million working days were lost due to workplace stress with workload pressure and poor managerial support being cited among the factors. This is an astonishing figure showing just how much people are prone to suffering and also how inadequate health services are to assist the complex needs of individuals and society as a whole. I have personally worked in the NHS and have seen first hand just how stretched services are and how staff are flat out doing what they can (at least, most of the time anyway) when often under incredible stress themselves, both work related and personal. It is clear that no matter how efficient the policies and how hard the highly qualified staff work, not everyone is getting the help they need.
This is why awareness campaigns such as World Mental Health Day are so important, not just in the workplace but everywhere. They get us talking about things we may just sweep under the rug and pretend aren’t impacting our lives and our mental health. They give us the opportunity we need in order to realise that it is actually okay to discuss our mental health and perhaps how to deal with those around us who are suffering in some way. In an ideal world a day such as World Mental Health Day may give employers and companies some food for thought on how mental health is affecting their employees and what they can do to help, after all, those 11.7 million working days impact their bottom line in some way so they should be looking to do better. The more we remain open to talking about our mental health rather than stigmatising it, the more chance of change, of progress.
Something i always wonder about is how we deal with our mental health on every other day of the year when we aren’t seeing promotions telling us about these days when we feel talking about mental health is easier or even more acceptable. It is important that we eradicate the stigma associated with mental health by taking how we approach a day like World Mental Health Day and behave in just the same way every other day.
It is helpful to know where you may be able to turn to get advice regarding mental health and so here are some useful links:
Mental Health Charity “Mind” – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Time to change has a comprehensive list of various services – https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/what-are-mental-health-problems/mental-health-help-you/other-useful-organisations
Statistics reference – http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/