We're Trying to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

One in four people in the world, will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. In the workplace one in (around) seven people are experiencing mental health problems. Stats from World Health Organization and Mental Health Foundation.

This means that either yourself, or someone you know could be suffering from a mental illness. Ask yourself, do you know the signs and symptoms? Do you have a work colleague who has a mental illness, and have they spoken about it?

In May, we wrote a blog post about recognising mental health. As a dynamic company, we’re always looking at ways in which we can improve and change. Mental health somehow still seems like a taboo subject, so we’re taking small steps to make Web Apps mentally healthier.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as:

A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

We decided to contact Healthy Minds, to come and deliver a CBT session to our employees. The session gave an introduction to knowledge and skills towards a positive well-being. It’s no secret that mental health is becoming more and more talked about around the world, so the CBT session helped educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, and how we can try and prevent them.

Tee and Keith came in to Web Apps on Friday 25th August, presentation at the ready. Their sessions have a maximum number of 20 people involved, as any more could mean people wouldn’t feel comfortable participating. Feedback from employees also stated they would have preferred a smaller group – which we will be doing for the next session.

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Healthy Minds speak to larger groups of people, but they also host relevant 1-1 sessions which helps minimise anxiety.

The session was informative and spoke about a variety of mental illnesses which ranged from depression and anxiety, to the positive effects of exercising, and eating healthy, and the negative effects of smoking, caffeine and alcohol. Instead of telling people what they should be doing, they instead gave the information in order for others to manage their lives themselves, and make their own choices after sessions.

The session became relatable for most, if not all the attendees, with the presenter speaking out about her own personal experiences, reassuring others that they’re not the only ones who have certain feelings. An array of hands kept going up for certain feelings and emotions, but also to answer questions for ‘how does stress affect you?’ ‘how do you feel when you’re in a low mood?’ It’s important to know that you’re not in this alone, and it was interesting to see how many people are affected by certain symptoms, and how many similarities are shared.

Not only did they focus on the most common mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety, but also sleep problems, stress, low mood and how to start overcoming the problems that you’re facing in everyday life.

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The session was engaging, informative and supportive, and feedback has all been positive. Becoming aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses has educated us, whilst also learning what we can be doing to overcome those symptoms and becoming mentally healthy. Due to the positive feedback, we are now looking at making the session more frequent, in order to educate others on the importance of mental health.

How can you improve well-being in the workplace?

As suggested by Mind.org.uk

  1. Connect

Strong evidence suggests that feeling close to, and valued by other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships in work promote wellbeing and help fight against mental ill health. Ways you can connect with others are:

  • Talking to somebody, instead of emailing
  • Speaking to somebody you may not have conversed with previously
  • Spend five minutes having a chat with somebody about their weekend, or what plans they are looking forward to
  1. Be active

I’m thinking it to, exercising can be the worst, but physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across a range of age groups. It improves sleep, relieves muscle tension and releases endorphins. Small changes can make a difference! If you don’t feel up to exercising just yet, take smaller steps to reach your goal:

  • Take the stairs instead of a lift
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing
  • Walk into work
  1. Take notice

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you by:

  • Having a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Taking notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Visit a new place for lunch
  1. Learn

One thing we’re known for at Web Applications is for providing a culture of learning and growth. Continued learning through life enhances your self-esteem and encourages social interaction. Want to learn something new? Why don’t you:

  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Develop a new skill
  • Read the news or a book
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  1. Give

Participating in social and community life has an improved effect on mental health. Individuals are more likely to rate themselves as happy, if they have a greater interest in helping others. How about:

  • Researching into actions for promoting happiness

It’s time to improve awareness of mental health and what signs and symptoms to look out for. What’s the first step? Talk about it.