Mental Health Awareness Week 16th-20th  May 2021

Anything that brings the importance of good mental health into the public psyche is a good thing. While we should whole heartedly support Mental Health Awareness Week, good mental health should be about more than good publicity for a week.  Many businesses with household names are promotors of good mental health, among them LinkedIn, Kelloggs, Timpsons  and Channel 4. 

These companies are far sighted enough to understand the problem of disenchantment, exhaustion and burnout in their workforce.  92 per cent of HR leaders worry that increases in working time are putting employees at risk of burnout.

Employees have increased their working week by almost 25 per cent since March 2020. For many who have been working remotely during this time, the removal the journey to work has meant they are actually working longer.  Although the commute could be troublesome, actually missing out on the separation between work and home and the chance for some downtime on the commute after work is perhaps not really helpful.

Workers are logging on earlier and in many cases not taking proper breaks away from the computer.   For working parents add the pressure of childcare responsibilities and home teaching, alongside their professional obligations. There is also the aspect of the blurring between home and work when colleagues are getting a birds eye view into the usually private spaces of home.

After the pandemic months we have just all experienced,  it is important for employers to recognise the value of really promoting interventions like having days free of Zoom, proper days off even if working from home, taking a holiday away from the office and regular care packages that encourage a healthy holistic approach. Offering active support for mental health should become the norm, in the form of some kind of talking therapy or hypnotherapy sessions if appropriate.

When it comes to the welfare of the work force it is the far sighted organisations who are investing in interventions like those mentioned above.  There is also also much to be said for good training.  Training is not just essential for the general work force but for managers and above, who perhaps more than any other, should be the starting point of this.  As a manager, being able to recognise someone who is feeling under pressure over deadlines or targets or even struggling with low expectations of self should come as second nature. With the right training learning how not to shy away from potentially uncomfortable conversations is also part of a duty of care.

There is still much to do in the area of mental health awareness, some companies are ahead of the game on this yet recent data by Mental Health First Aid England revealed that 25 per cent of employees had not had a single well-being check since the pandemic began.

With many well-known voices like some members of the Royal Family and celebrities being added to the call for change, it is increasing the conversation about the whole area of mental health and wellbeing, getting into the psyche of the workforce, general public and business leaders is a good place to start.

UKCHO organisations encourage the effective use of Hypnotherapy for good mental health & wellbeing.