Before we get into the practical elements of what you can do to support employees and colleagues, let’s give a little background into the size of the problem we’re facing.
According to a 2018 study by the Mental Health Foundation, in the previous 12 months, a total of 74% of people felt so stressed they were unable to cope. In addition almost half of those people, 48%, reported that they acted differently as a result, using unhealthy coping mechanisms. These include eating too much, eating very unhealthily, drinking alcohol more than they normally would, and smoking more than normal, or even starting smoking when they didn’t before.
Stress is the biggest issue in the workplace, because whilst stress can come from outside sources, problems going on inside the workplace are often to blame, causing employees to want to hide behind the office screens and cut themselves off from their colleagues. Common triggers could be an overwhelming workload, issues with colleagues, job dissatisfaction, or not understanding their job role.
In addition, stress is often the precursor towards other mental health issues, namely depression anxiety, as the same study shows, with 51% of adults experiencing stress also reported feeling depressed, and 61% reporting feeling symptoms of anxiety too.
When left unchecked, stress can be extremely dangerous, and the very same study showed the extent, with 16% of those experiencing anxiety saying that they had attempted self-harm and 32% reporting feelings of desperation and even suicidal thoughts.
These figures should show you exactly why we need to focus more on mental health in general, not only in the workplace, and look towards reducing it as much as we possibly can - working together as a team.
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