Its World Mental Health Day Today

Mental Health in the Workplace

Today is World Mental Health day. This year’s theme is mental health in the workplace. ACAS says that your mental health is integral to how you feel about your job, how you perform in your role and how you interact with colleagues and customers. If you have good mental health, you are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels and be engaged in your work. Employer’s should;

1. Improve mental health awareness in the organisation
2. Tackle the causes of work-related mental ill health
3. Create a workplace culture where staff feel able to talk about their mental health
4. Support staff who are experiencing mental ill health


Promoting Positive Mental Health at Work

ACAS has published a new step-by-step guide for employers and senior managers called Promoting Positive Mental Health in the Workplace.  It explains how they should approach changing the workplace to promote positive mental health. You should use it as a guide to what your employer should be doing for you in the workplace, and find out where to go if you need  further guidance and support. There is another guide called “Managing Staff Experiencing Mental Ill Health“.


Stress at Work

The Health and Safety Executive says that work-related stress is the “adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them at work”.  A person who has work-related stress will eventually not be able to cope with the job. This will generally lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia and tiredness. These are the symptoms of a “psychological injury”.  Sustained pressure can lead to a serious psychological illness such as clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Tiredness, insomnia and anxiety can also lead to physical injuries.

Stress can be caused by;

Take a look at our guidance and resources on Stress at Work to help you know your rights and the options available to you if you are suffering from stress at work. ACAS has an on-line guide called “Dealing with Stress in the Workplace” which you may also find useful.


Bullying and harassment

Bullying and harassment can cause you to have mental health issues at work. You should not tolerate it. Take a look at our guidance on Bullying and Harassment at Work to find out about your rights and what you can do to prevent it. ACAS defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying or harassment may be by an individual against an individual (perhaps by someone in a position of authority such as a manager or supervisor) or involve groups of people. It may be obvious or it may be insidious. Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.”

Under section 26 of the Equality Act 2010, harassment is a prohibited act of discrimination and is defined as unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of people in the workplace or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. To be protected under the Equality Act 2010, the harassment must be related to a protected characteristic. Even if the harassment does not relate to a protected characteristic, you are protected by the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

If you are being bullied or harassed, get a copy of our guide on How to write a grievance about bullying and harassment at work


Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance has come to increasing prominence in recent years, driven by technology, increased pressure on a scaled down workforce and greater competition among workers. This has inarguably added to stress levels, interfered with domestic lives and created an environment where the expectation is availability at all hours. Managing these expectations is challenging, but if you know where your boundaries lie and you are willing to define and defend them, it can be better for all concerned. Take a look at our post Sanity and the City: Work/Life Balance for tips on how to manage and achieve work/life balance.


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