Everyone has mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health. At times we can struggle to maintain good physical health due to different reasons, such as being too busy and tired to fit in a trip to the gym, or to cook dinner so we order a takeaway.
Similarly, we have to work at maintaining good mental health when certain factors might make this a challenge. The workplace can often be an environment of high pressure and stress with impending deadlines and targets, and this can be a contributing factor to mental ill health. A high-pressured working atmosphere can also be a barrier to accessing the right support.
Recent reports on mental health in the workplace show that:
Engage, Educate, Embed
With stats like that it has never been more important to break down the barriers that might be preventing us from accessing the mental health and wellbeing support that we need. We all want to feel healthy, happy, and well-supported at work.
This can feel like a challenge for businesses and employees alike! The team at Mindful Employer, a UK initiative that provides businesses with easier access to information and support for staff who experience mental health difficulties, has created a simple 10 Step Toolkit built on just three principles – engage, educate, embed!
“Our 10 Steps are a simple way to help focus activity on engaging everyone on the issue of wellbeing in the workplace to remove stigma around mental ill health, educating managers and wider workforce about mental health awareness and embedding good practice and the right support processes”, says Martha Clowes, who operates as a Mindful Employer Coordinator at Mindful Employer Leeds.
The free 10 Steps Toolkit for businesses provides a starting point for good practice and to keep conversations around mental health and wellbeing going. The online resource will help develop ideas on creating positive working environments, supporting wellbeing, increasing understanding of mental health, and challenging stigma surrounding mentally ill health in the workplace. The practical steps also provide suggested actions, good business practice case studies, and links to other resources.
Recommendations for employers
The Toolkit recommends that employers:
- Invest in wellbeing initiatives, such as mental health related training,
- Adopt a reasonable adjustments policy,
- Create a policy which addresses wellbeing in the workplace,
- Proactively promote a zero tolerance approach to discrimination in the workplace on all grounds including mental and physical health
- Foster an environment of dignity and respect, and
- Involve staff from all levels of the organisation when creating and implementing a mental health and wellbeing strategy.
While the focus of the Toolkit is on mental health and wellbeing, Step 10 also suggests that Equality & Diversity needs to be considered as part of a wider mental health and wellbeing strategy.
Research, highlighted in Action on Hearing Loss ‘Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Mental Health’ Review, has shown that the prevalence of significant anxiety and/or depression is four times greater amongst people with hearing loss than the population average. Therefore, the need to implement a comprehensive wellbeing strategy which also promotes Equality & Diversity and addresses physical health needs is essential.
About Mindful Employer
Mindful Employer is an initiative which provides organisations and businesses with easier access to information, support for staff experiencing mental ill health, and share good practice in creating mentally healthy workplaces. The 10 Steps Toolkit was developed by Mindful Employer Leeds who can offer local support, access to a local network, and more information on implementing the 10 Steps Toolkit. Contact the Leeds-based Mindful Employer Coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hearing loss and mental health
Hearing loss affects an estimated 17% of adults in Britain (about 19% in Canada and 16% in the USA). Hearing impairment not only impacts the physical health, but also has effects on mental health as well as autonomy, cognition, memory and social isolation.
A survey of 2069 hearing-impaired individuals, published in the early 2000s, brought to light that people with mild or severe hearing loss report benefits to day to day life and significant improvements in family relationships, self esteem, mental and social well-being and life overall, as a result of wearing hearing solutions.
Experience Louise's story
Before cochlear implants, Louise would never have dreamed of having her own business. Watch her story to see how her CIs took her from more independence to self-employment.