We spend a lot of our time at work and our job can have a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. I spent ten years in sales in the corporate world plus eight years teaching in further education and have experienced burn out and unhappiness at work. International Week of Happiness is designed to encourage happiness and well-being at work.

There is a lot more that employers can do to keep their staff ‘thriving’ or to help them when they’re struggling or in crisis. Not only is this the kind thing to do, but it also makes business sense in terms of productivity and sickness absence. Often staff may be fearful of disclosing a mental health issue because employers often make assumptions about their ability from negative portrayals in the media and beyond.

Over 11 million days are lost at work a year because of stress at work (HSE). Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work and be able to ensure they have a safe working environment while taking reasonable care to prevent personal injury (mental or physical) that may arise in the workplace. St. Johns’ Ambulance surveyed thousands of people and found that less than 1 in 5 employees are aware of their employer having a Mental Health and Well-being policy and 4 out of 5 organisations have no staff trained in mental health support. Some other facts surrounding this issue are:

  • 1 in 3 of the UK workforce have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime
  • 81% of LGBT + people have experienced a mental health condition with 72% having experienced mental health issues as a result of work
  • 30% of line managers have taken part in mental health training
  • 16% of employees felt able to disclose a mental health issue to their manager

Many of the studies in this field have concluded that the indirect costs of mental health disorders — particularly lost productivity — exceed companies’ spending on direct costs, such as health insurance contributions, mental health training and education. Given the generally low rates of treatment, the researchers suggest that companies should invest in the mental health of workers — not only for the sake of the employees but to improve their own healthy financial growth. An investment in staff health is not a wasted investment. Happiness at work should be the norm and not the exception.

For more information on Mental Health First Aider and wellness at work accredited courses and qualifications with a difference contact www.gaildonnan.com