This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the focus is on body image. Having body image concerns is not a mental health problem in itself, but it can be a risk factor for mental health problems. It is reported that one in five adults (20%) felt shame, just over one third (34%) felt down or low, and 19% felt disgusted because of their body image in the last year.

Thankfully we are seeing mental health being less of a taboo subject and businesses are recognising the benefit to both employees and the business to have services in place to support employees.  In the UK alone, an unbelievable 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems, costing employers in the region of £2.4 billion per year. By investing time and effort into breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, we can reduce the impact on the employer whilst supporting employees.

Most of us spend a significant amount of our time at work and the pressure is on for us to bring home a regular income, so to have a fulfilling job that is good for our mental health and wellbeing is of paramount importance. Sometimes strain outside of work i.e. health problems, relationships, family pressures as well as those pressures within the workplace can result in things getting on top of us. Companies that invest in mental health in the workplace can create a healthy working environment, where employees can thrive and know that if they do have issues, they have help on hand.

Mental health is often the elephant in the room in many workplaces and all too often, employees are worried about talking to their managers for fear of judgement and discrimination and this can result in problems spiralling. So how can employers ensure that they have all the tools in place to create a happy and supportive workplace, here are just a few ideas.

  1. You could introduce mental health into your induction process for new employees and training for current employees.
  2. Acknowledge key dates in the mental health calendar, have a fundraiser for a mental health charity or encourage social activities that promote wellbeing within the workplace.
  3. Have a mental health champion who can organise activities, come up with ideas to support staff and help to promote mental health so that it is no longer a taboo subject.
  4. Give staff access to a trained counsellor should they need to talk to someone.
  5. Be mindful and supportive of your staff’s needs.
  6. Make sure staff are taking full lunchbreaks and work sensible hours.
  7. Promote a culture of teamwork so that employees don’t feel isolated.
  8. Encourage staff to be active, whether that be by subsidising a gym membership, arrange weekly lunch walks from the office or creating a company football/netball/cricket team.
  9. Arrange for healthy lunch options to be available by finding a local company who can deliver food to your office. Maybe even have a free fruit basket where employees can help themselves to a piece a fruit.
  10. Ensure you have a breakout area where staff can take some time away from their desk.

If you would like more information about mental health, there are some great ideas on the following websites: www.mentalhealth.org.uk or www.mind.org.uk.

#bebodykind

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