Two thirds of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, with stress a contributing factor. That’s why the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) this year is exactly that – stress and how we are coping with it.
It’s something many of us fall victim to – from increasing workloads to personal issues, the pressures of everyday life can sometimes become too much.
According to a new survey by the Mental Health Foundation, 74 per cent of people questioned had felt so stressed in the past year they had been overwhelmed or unable to cope. It’s a worrying trend that needs to change – and fast.
While more awareness of mental health is essential, we also need to tackle the causes head on. And it seems employers are taking note. I’ve been to various events run by clients recently that support the wellbeing of their employees, encouraging them to open up and talk about mental health.
Royal Mail has introduced its ‘Feeling First Class’ website that contains a range of tools designed to help employees get active, healthier and feeling better. Colleagues can set wellbeing goals, get access to personalised fitness programmes and use a logbook to keep track of their progress.
TfL’s Supporting Colleagues Network (SCN) is one of the ways it’s providing mental health first aid and peer support to its employees. It’s made up of around 50 volunteers who can talk through any issues impacting colleagues. This year, additional employee training in mental health first aid will expand the SCN and a series of mental health-related lunchtime talks, as well as mindfulness sessions via conference call are planned.
Jessica Carmody, chair of KPMG’s mental health network, Be Mindful, was recently named Employee Champion in this year’s Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index Awards. Through her commitment to advocating mental health awareness, Jessica has reached out to more than 10,000 colleagues. The Be Mindful network has grown to almost 600 members during the time she has been chair and she has run more than 100 events throughout the UK.
At AB, we take time out and listen to our colleagues, offering a helping hand when they feel overwhelmed. Exercise is a great way to improve our wellbeing and mental health, so next time you think about putting off the gym, don’t. You’ll feel better for it in more ways than one.