Poor mental health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today, causing over 70 million working days to be lost each year. This includes everything from the most commonly experienced symptoms of stress and anxiety, right through to more complex mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As well as having a huge impact on individual employees, poor mental health has severe repercussions for employers – including increased staff turnover, sickness absence due to debilitating depression, burnout and exhaustion, decreased motivation and lost productivity. But while companies of all shapes and sizes increasingly understand the importance of good mental health, many simply don’t feel confident handling and communicating these issues in the workplace.
We all know what it’s like to feel stressed. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.
As a company, Beem really cares about getting involved and raising awareness about this issue, and there’s no better time than this week to do it since it’s the Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
Research has repeatedly shown that two-thirds of all people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives: the Mental Health Foundation wants to draw attention to and de-stigmatize the taboo of opening up. This years theme is stress, an apt choice for the people of the UK facing political, social and economic issues.
On this matter, although mental health has become a hot topic recently, with an emphasis on it being key to overall wellbeing, many of us are still reluctant to address the issues. Often, this stems from a lack of understanding of the signs and symptoms of common mental health diagnoses, resulting in a perceived stigma. Much has been done to raise awareness and encourage discussion, but to remove the stigma and normalize conversations around mental health the subject needs to be more visible.
And of course, this issue has a strong impact on every workplace dynamic: some employers may feel that mental health and wellbeing of employees is outside of their remit, but bringing attention to the issue is mutually beneficial!
There’s also a degree of concern in terms of economics here: the cost of mental ill health to employers is roughly £1300 per employee per year, a combination of sickness absence, staff turnover and reduced productivity. As we spend such a large portion of our time at work, there is a great opportunity to raise awareness of common symptoms and of what help is available. Often, people don’t seek support early on because they are unaware that what they are experiencing can be linked to mental health or because they are unaware that there is effective help available. Did you know that the 67% of employees feel embarrassed or unable to talk about mental health concerns with their employer? This is scary!
To break this taboo and create an open and caring culture it’s important to get your board on side and take a top-down approach. Educating employees through the workplace could prevent them from reaching a crisis point that requires extended sickness absence and encourages conversation and peer support to help people stay in work, and this is exactly where Beem can help.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve worked closely with many F500 companies to help them build and sustain a company culture where every employee feels like they’re part of something bigger and they’re never left behind. Technology gives us great possibilities and we live in a world where we’re hyper-connected, so why don’t we exploit all of this to also address a really important issue like our Mental Health and overall wellbeing?
This is the question we’ve asked ourselves as a company, and to answer it we’ve started to implement customized material for each of our clients, with the long-term goal of reaching every employee with documents, training materials, and webinar links about Mental Health (and many other corporate topics of course!) all through our Beem Application, we’ve always been culturally sensitive in terms of languages, personalities, and privacy: we want to enable every employee to be their full selves at work!
We’re proud of what we’re achieving and we want to contribute even more by helping companies every day to address Mental Health issues! As of today, we’ve found that another great way to foster this supportive culture is to join Red Bull and many other companies by taking part in the Mental Health Pledge ourselves, with the aim of creating an open environment where mental health is supported. An open and empathetic approach to mental health in the workplace should be the standard, not the exception and this is why we’ve pledged to create an environment where mental health is sustained.
If you’d like to know more about this topic, here are many free resources available to help build a campaign and get support that is suitable for your workplace. We know it can be a really tough conversation to initiate, but the more that we do the easier it becomes and the better-supported people living with mental health problems will be. That’s something everyone can benefit from.
If you have any questions about how we are helping companies in this dynamic, or simply have any curiosity about our journey, don’t hesitate to drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the section below!