Why is workplace mental health such a hot topic today?

workplace mental health
Work is a significant part of our lives, whether we like it or not. It provides for a number of important aspects: income, friends and – for many of us – purpose. Finding fulfilment in your job contributes positively to your mental health and general wellbeing.
The problem is that many employers don’t acknowledge this. While some have made good progress toward equipping their workforce with tools to support their mental health at work, most are still lagging behind. That’s why people like mental health activist Ian Dodd and global advocate Geoff McDonald advocate for companies to dedicate more time throughout the year to addressing the challenge of mental wellbeing.
Mental Health Month: is it enough?
Each year, as May rolls around, the UK enters its Mental Health Awareness month. But many question whether this is enough? For 30 days, corporates shine a light on the often visible struggles facing their workforce. From anxiety and depression to feelings of isolation and unexplained anger, employees are encouraged to speak up and break the stigma around ill mental health.
But at what cost?
Once the campaigns end and the fanfare dies down, people are expected to go back to “normal”, which often means continuing to suffer in silence. And fears around judgement of the struggles they’ve so bravely bared rise to the surface.
How do we fix this?
As per the WHO, work and mental health are closely linked. Sadly, this is misunderstood by governments, workplace leaders, and communities across the globe. This lack of understanding has left the issue under-funded, under-resourced, and under-prioritised for too long.
To address this, people like Dodd and McDonald believe that starting with the basics is essential. For one, this means making mental health a priority throughout the year. Placing an ongoing importance on this issue will help provide employees with what they truly need: long-term solutions that are accessible and relevant to all.
Another important step is changing the attitude to mental health among global corporations. Formalising their approach to managing mental health will go a long way improving employees’ mental wellbeing. Publishing honest disclosures about the conditions among their staff and the effectiveness of their support systems will help companies rid themselves of ineffective tools and develop programmes that are actually useful for those in need.
Interesting mental health statistics
  • Mental health charity Mind finds that 41% of mental health trusts have staffing levels that fall below the established benchmarks.
  • On average only 33% of individuals in crisis are assessed within 4 hours of NHS contact.
  • The Corporate Mental Health Benchmark’s (CCLA) 2023 Global 100+ Report found that 95% of respondents recognise that mental health is an important business concern.
  • Despite this, the average mental health score across these companies was only 28% and only 17% of CEOs publicly champion mental health.
  • Addressing wellbeing at work can increase productivity y as much as 12%.
  • Forth has found that more than 1 in 7 UK adults say that their mental health is bad or the worst it’s ever been.
  • People aged between 16 and 24 are the group most affected by mental health struggles, as 23.5% describe their mental health as bad or the worst it’s ever been.
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