The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year
This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’
Below, we provide some information and guidance about how you could integrate the theme in your workplace, not only on 10th October, but all year round.
Mental Health in an Unequal World
This theme was chosen by a global vote including WFMH members, stakeholders and supporters because the world is increasingly polarized, with the very wealthy becoming wealthier, and the number of people living in poverty still far too high.
2020 highlighted inequalities due to race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the lack of respect for human rights in many countries, including for people living with mental health conditions. Such inequalities have an impact on people’s mental health.
Conducting an Equal Pay Review in your Business
Achieving equal pay is a legal and moral obligation for all businesses. Equal pay has been part of UK law since the 1970 Equal Pay Act and is now also part of the Equality Act 2010. Meaning that all employees are entitled to equal pay, whether they are full, or part-time, or on temporary contracts.
Ensuring that all employees are treated equally, particularly when it comes to pay, your business can mitigate some mental health issues regarding pressure associated with inequality.
Employees Returning to the Workplace
As we see more and more employees returning to their work place and life starting to get back to pre-pandemic routine, we have understandably observed some anxiety.
Business should take some considerations to support their employees who may be feeling anxious to make the pace of the transition of returning to the work place suitable for all:
- Adapt your plans to take into consideration an approach that is suitable for each individual and communicate these effectively
- Is your business in the position to consider a flexible or hybrid working approach for employees?
- Some employees may wish to avoid close contact or interaction. You may consider allowing employees to use a visual to aid this for example different coloured wristbands
- Consider keeping social distancing rules and PPE rules in place
- Does your business have a vaccine policy? Your employees may have conflicting views, but as a business you should have a clear and communicated approach
The Impact of Mental Ill Health
1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year, and almost 800 million people around the world are affected by mental health issues worldwide. Mental illness is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year.
Business leaders could offer support to their employees by using a number of tools:
- Providing an employee assistance programme (EAP)
- Providing Mental Health First Aider Training
- Simply observing and looking out for unfamiliar behaviour in their employees
- Ensuring that your business has a culture of equality, diversion and inclusion
Family Friendly Policy Review
Have you reviewed your family friendly policies? The world of work is changing and to ensure equality for all you should have a robust suite of family friendly policies in place.
The pressure on working parents when they are starting a family or expecting children is often heavy at a time when they should be celebrating their family.
Working expectant mothers and fathers should be supported through this time with open and clear dialogue around maternity and paternity leave, time off for appointments, pay and all of the other elements which can cause stress so that they are able to plan for their new arrival.
Mental Health First Aider Training
The HR People offer mental health first aider training which covers how to identify and respond to mental health issues and concerns.
Consider providing this training to your leaders and managers to ensure they know what to look out for in themselves and employees.