World Mental Health Day 2023 is observed on 10th October. It’s a global opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. This year’s theme is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’. And it highlights the need for everyone to have access to supportive, open, and compassionate mental wellbeing advice and resources.
Since last year’s World Mental Health Day, our clients have increasingly requested support in five key areas:
- Anxiety, particularly anxiety in the workplace and combatting imposter syndrome.
- Helping workplace teams manage stress and prevent burnout.
- Inclusion and safe spaces that celebrate neurodiverse, LGBTQ+ and culturally diverse workforces.
- Financial wellbeing and its impact on mental health.
- Wellbeing for leaders, including how leaders can become wellbeing champions.
We believe that focusing on these themes creates organisations where everyone has the universal right to flourish and receive the support they need.
Anxiety in the Workplace
Workplace anxiety, and conditions like stress and depression, are common. Research from the Health and Safety Executive shows that these conditions account for 50% of all work-related cases of ill-health.
Workplace anxiety may present as fear, worry, anger, or imposter syndrome. And those feelings don’t necessarily just happen at work. If left unmanaged, workplace anxiety can seriously impact an individual and team’s ability to carry out responsibilities effectively. In fact, it may even develop into Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
So how can you create a healthy workplace that supports people with anxiety? Firstly, educate your staff about anxiety and imposter syndrome. Secondly, give them training on how to speak to a colleague about their concerns. Thirdly, help your workforce with practical steps on how to support each other, through signposting and in-house resources. Finally, reiterate all of this regularly, through open, understanding and continuing conversation.
Stress and Burnout
Stress, in moderation, can serve as a motivator, pushing individuals to achieve their best. However, left unchecked, stress can lead to burnout. This can jeopardise both your workforce’s mental and physical well-being.
Support your team by offering training on using stress as a catalyst for success, through resilience-building strategies. These might include time management, setting boundaries, and practising mindfulness. At the same time, reiterate that your objective is to protect your employees from burnout. Balancing workloads, encouraging breaks, and fostering a culture of support can prevent burnout’s debilitating effects.
By encouraging stress-management strategies, individuals can leverage stress to fuel success while protecting their mental health.
Nurturing Diversity and Authenticity
Your team thrive best when they can be their true, authentic selves. And that applies to every aspect of who they are. By providing training to managers, employees and teams about creating safe spaces at work, you’ll boost mental wellbeing and foster an open environment.
In order to best help your business support the needs of its diverse employees, we recommend training in:
- LGBTQ+ inclusion.
- And cross-cultural communication in the workplace.
Inclusivity is the bedrock of an organisation that respects mental health as a universal human right. By creating an environment of safety and authenticity at work, you open up opportunities for conversations about mental health and celebrating different experiences of the world. That, in turn, makes your business and your team stronger.
Financial Wellbeing and Mental Health
There’s an intricate relationship between financial wellbeing and mental health. Financial stress can lead to anxiety and depression, underscoring the need for comprehensive support systems.
The UK workforce has been facing significant financial uncertainty, as a result of the rapidly rising cost of living. The squeeze on personal finances, as costs rise faster than wages, will be creating additional stress and worry for many of your employees.
As an employer, you can contribute by offering financial wellness programmes and resources to employees, reducing the mental health toll of financial instability and promoting a more resilient workforce.
Wellbeing for Leaders
Leaders’ approach to mental health, and the care they take of their own wellbeing, sets the tone for your organisation. And there are some mental health challenges that are unique to the members of your leadership team. Responsible for their team’s wellbeing, carrying the burden of successful project delivery, acting as mentor and guide, and trying to balance the needs of many people, leaders may experience stress, burnout or anxiety.
By encouraging self-care, providing leadership-focused mental health resources, and fostering a culture where vulnerability is seen as a strength, your organisation can create a positive ripple effect throughout your workforce.
Providing supportive leadership training that integrates emotional intelligence, stress management, self-care and open conversations about mental health, will allow your leaders to become role models, fostering a healthier work environment.
What steps will you take?
The good news is that, regardless of which area of mental wellbeing you choose to focus on first, there’s never a wrong answer!
By fostering an open and supportive conversation about anxiety, stress and burnout, inclusivity and authenticity, financial wellbeing or wellbeing for leaders, you’re laying one building block for a culture that supports mental wellbeing.