As most of you know, I run Mint HR, working with small to medium employers on their people matters. A huge element on the agenda is mental health and general wellbeing. I am passionate about this and work with another company – Resilient People - to upskill lots of people.
It’s a difficult subject and with many illnesses, until you’ve experienced or witnessed it closely it’s not easy to comprehend. I’m an expert in the matter for a number of reasons: I’m mental myself – having suffered with anxiety and depression for a large part of my life. I totally get it. I appreciate how impactful the brain can be. My husband had a brain tumour. I have worked with lots of employees who have mental ill health problems.
Going to cover off in this session:
The impact of mental ill health to understand why it’s on the agenda. Removing the stigma – how we can all do this. Preventing MH problems Managing those with mental ill health problems
Who here has worked themselves into the ground, taken a holiday and then got sick?
The stress hormones that help us cope with work deadlines get out of balance, and leave us open to infection. Adrenaline helps us to cope with stress, as well as boosting the immune system to help fight infections and keep us well. Along with it comes cortisol which also helps with the stress, but at a cost to the immune system.
Not medically proven but sounds plausible?
Link to physical health. Having a serious mental illness can reduce life expectancy by 10-20 years. Greater impact than heavy smoking! Around 30% of all people with a long-term physical health condition also have a mental health problem. Depression found to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Absolutely love Ruby Wax and what she’s done and continues to do to remove the stigma associated with mental ill health
An engaged workforce Reduced susceptibility to stress Improved performance Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism More flexible and positive to change Increased morale Happy and healthy staff An easier life for you as a manager!!
Is stress good or bad? Ask the audience.
The answer is bad – move on to next slide to explain why.
Read the slide – being in a state of mental or emotional strain can not be good. There are times – such as when you’re in personal danger when fight or flight kicks in but hopefully, we’re not in those kinds of situations often.
Stress is felt when the pressure becomes too great, it’s a cumulative effect. Stress can lead to mental ill health or exacerbate a current condition.
Elastic band on your seat – help to demonstrate this. Take the elastic band.
What is the purpose of an elastic band? What is it doing at the moment? Worth noting – that when something is not under any pressure – this can be equally as stressful. Stretch the band – what’s it doing now? It’s under a bit of pressure – but good pressure – it’s doing what it’s supposed to, has a sense of purpose. The more practiced you become – the easier the task becomes – which is why it’s good to have stretch targets. What happens when it’s stretched too far? Good to have an understanding of what stress looks like.
Pretty self explanatory – the key is to look out for changes. If you’re worried about someone – ask them. We are all unique so it’s not one size fits all – everyone is different and the inability to cope will manifest itself in different ways.
Are You Mental?
Are you mental?
I know I am
The impact of mental ill health
• 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in UK
• 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition
• Mixed anxiety and depression estimated to cause one fifth of days lost at
• Cost UK economy £34.9bn last year
• Costing the UK more than £94bn every year - counting treatment, social
support costs and the losses to the economy from people who cannot work
• Mental health is intrinsically linked to physical health
Benefits of removing the stigma
• It’s a large group of people.
• Nip it in the bud.
• Work with it as opposed to against it.
• Employer of choice
Preventing mental ill health
• Recognising the tipping point – different for everyone
• Connect with your colleagues
• Look after yourself – open up to others
• Techniques to manage stress at an early stage
• Seek help when required
Pressure and stress
A state of mental or
emotional strain or tension
resulting from adverse or
Managing those with mental ill
• Spot the changes
• Don’t be afraid to talk
• Raise it as soon as you spot it
• Open questions
• Listen non judgementally
• Never make assumptions
• Don’t take on the full burden
• Encourage ownership
• In it for the long haul