In the UK we have a whole month focussed on Mental Health, but last week was specifically in the focus of Mental Health Awareness week. There have been a multitude of programmes, articles and blogs.
Theresa May also announced her ‘sweeping´ reforms to mental health policy. It is definitely a long time coming. A lot has changed since the 1983 Mental Health Act. Unfortunately the largely unpopular reforms for Dementia sufferers followed swiftly afterwards. Let’s hope they back track on that one. There is nothing like adding to stress worrying about the inheritance that you were building up for the children. Now it might betaken by the state to support you in your time of need.
Prominent people speaking out
Prince Harry got a great dialog started by talking about his own person mental health issuesHe sought counselling after 20 years of not thinking about the death of his mother.In fact, along with Prince William and Kate they started a charity called Heads Together back in 2016.It is really great to see the Royals leading the charge.
William also talked about the shock of losing a loved one, especially in difficult circumstances. It stays with you always but managing it gets easier. Bereavement can affect everyone and I will be dedicating a whole blog to that later in the year.
Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd urged fellow players to speak up about mental health problems a couple of days ago. He suggested that mental health problems were a “massive” problem for football.
It is great to see very visible people in public life speaking out. The Royals set up their charity to help remove the stigma of Mental Health issues. Yet in business this still is a massive issue. Working with a company last year that was going through massive transformation and having to make a very large number of redundancies, the workforce has a double whammy. They are worried about job security, finances and the future. This directly leads to stress, the longer it goes on the more stress the person feels. They can be suffering from mental health problems like stress, depression and anxiety. Employees often feel worried about talking the issue through with their employer, because they they might be the one chosen for redundancy.
Help for business
Having independent support that staff can talk to is absolutely critical in these times of change. They can provide unbiased advice. They can help employees with coping strategies, enabling them to cope better, whatever the outcome. Most importantly they are a confident that enables the person to open up and talk about their problems without fear of repercussions.
It is very encouraging to see the spotlight on Mental Health, but there still remains a stigma for people to admit that they are struggling. While I agree with a lot of the comments about Mental Health should be a focus all year round and not just for a focussed short period of time, having that focus does help target the issue and allows for people to focus on a topic that might not have been on their radar before. So many people suffer from mental ill health. The likelihood is that you know, or have suffered yourself with stress related illness, depression, anxiety and other common mental health related issues.
If you are in business and going through a big change do remember that staff will often benefit from independent support and this will help them stay positive and supportive throughout the transition. Making their transition easier and your too.