Almost half of under 35s say they have taken extended sick leave of a week or more due to stress and anxiety. Promoting mental health wellbeing is a critical tool in reducing the 18% of all workplace absence which is caused by stress, depression and anxiety.
As Campaign report on the steps that agencies are taking to support mental health, it's important to remember that not all interventions need to be complicated or expensive.
We would encourage agencies to:
- Ensure good management - lead by example; be mindful of setting reasonable deadlines and promote an open management style
- Try to minimize the environmental factors - changes in duties or a lack of training and supervision are common stress factors
- Look out for work related stress - try to check in regularly to ensure your team can cope with their workload
- Spot the signs of mental ill health - make time to listen and remember that things can change slowly
- Encourage disclosure and awareness of mental wellbeing
- Try to deal with things early on - often when things are very visible the problem is already significant
- Help your team to help themselves - be aware of the help available, you can't support alone
It is evident that, when it comes to supporting workers’ mental health, companies aren’t doing enough; the Health and Safety Executive revealed that, for the first time, work-related stress, anxiety or depression accounted for more than half of all working days lost due to ill health in the UK in 2018. Employees could be privately struggling when they walk through the office door each morning to slump at a desk in a toxic, always "switched on" and long-working-hours environment. Today's World Mental Health Day (10 October) has the potential to kick-start conversations around mental wellness and reduce the stigma that prevents people from opening up to an employer and saying: "I'm not OK today". But it's also easy to be tokenistic – to simply recruit an office dog and offer meditation classes. On top of companies' legal duty to protect employees from stress at work, mental well-being needs to be ingrained in adland’s culture; asking to work from home to fit around a therapy session needs to be as normal as asking to work around a dental appointment. So Campaign asked a selection of agencies: what do you do to support your staff’s mental well-being?