Britain is suffering what has been described as an epidemic of mental illness.
The rise in levels of stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm, body image issues and many other conditions is a concern for everyone.
At Qa Research, we’ve worked with a number of clients to research the causes and evaluate potential solutions to some of these health problems.
Soon we’ll be revealing some of our own insights of mental health in the workplace.
Ahead of that, and to mark Mental Health Awareness Week this week (13-19 May 2019), we’ve found some innovative schemes addressing the issue in different working environments in the UK.
Schwartz Centre Rounds in the NHS
In an insightful article Jill Maben, professor of health services research and nursing at the University of Surrey, explores some of the unique pressures on health care staff. And Prof Maben also reveals that attendance at Schwartz Centre Rounds – regular one-hour meetings, open to all healthcare staff to come together to share stories – can halve poor psychological wellbeing.
A city guide
This is a great example of partnership working. Mental health website MindWell, in partnership with an initiative called Mindful Employer Leeds, has produced a guide that sets out how the city’s employers can help protect their staff’s mental health. It includes advice on promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace and ways for bosses to support staff who are experiencing problems away from their jobs.
Working with creative campaign and augmented reality specialists Media and Digital (MaD), Kier Highways devised a powerful video series that encourages people to talk about mental health issues. “If we don’t take the mental health of all our employees seriously, we as a business and as a whole industry will fail our people and, as a consequence, we’ll fail to attract and retain the diverse talent the UK construction sector needs,” says Martin Duffy of Kier Highways.
Mindful Business Charter
Working in the City of London is often well-rewarded – but the salary comes at a price. Stress is a real problem in high-octane companies, and so directors of several leading financial and legal firms have signed up to a Mindful Business Charter. Those that do commit themselves to “being respectful of others’ time by planning meetings properly”, avoiding overusing emails and “negotiating rather than imposing a deadline”.
Mental health manifesto
In a poll commissioned by training provider Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), alongside Bauer Media Group, only 14% of workers said they felt comfortable discussing their mental health worries at work. MHFA has now launched a workplace manifesto which asks organisations to treat mental and physical health equally; implement the six core standards for a mentally healthy workplace as set out in the government’s Thriving at Work review; and develop diverse and inclusive workplaces where staff feel comfortable to “bring their whole selves” to work.
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