Managers not Equipped to Cope with Mental Ill Health

Nearly one in four workers is directly affected by mental ill health but managers deny its relevance and are generally not well equipped to deal with it.

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) recently launched a new employee health and wellbeing area on their website, recognising the importance of providing help to British businesses to manage sickness and mental health issues at work.  The high costs to businesses of sickness absence have long been known, but perhaps the surprising fact is that stress, anxiety and depression account for as much as 47% and 61% of the total of long-term absence for manual and non-manual workers respectively.

Another disturbing finding highlighted by the CIPD is the lack of understanding by managers of the potential impact of mental health issues.  In reality, nearly one in four workers, at any one time, is directly affected by mental ill health.  When asked about the likelihood of mental ill health happening within their workforce, senior managers grossly under-estimate the figure.  This must mean that the majority of businesses are not adequately prepared to deal with mental health issues that arise.

We know that work plays a major part in promoting health and wellbeing.  Shawn Achor in his brilliant book “The Happiness Advantage” highlights the importance of 7 principles that he says fuel success and performance at work.  His 7th principle is ‘social investment’ which he believes is an individual’s single greatest asset in combating the negative impacts of stress and challenges we face at work.  He says “studies have found that the strength of the bond between manager and employee is the prime predictor of both daily productivity and the length of time people stay in their jobs.”

It is important that organisations understand the role that excessive pressure and poor relationships has on the mental wellbeing of their staff.  It is crucial that managers are aware of the signs of poor mental health and that they are equipped to take the necessary actions to respond quickly to potential difficulties, rather than, as the data suggests, denying that it is an issue.  As always, prevention is the best cure to the problem.

The Mind Your Head Conference and Showcase is a unique opportunity in Dorset for managers and business owners to explore new activities and understand different techniques to positively stimulate mental wellbeing.  We have four world renowned speakers, including Tony Buzan (Mind Mapping creator) and a host of ‘Brain Cells’ (mind stimulating activity providers), who will challenge you to enhance your mental potential and wellbeing.  We should all be concerned about maintaining a healthy mind for longer as we are living and working well into old age.  After all, business and personal success is built on brain power.

Many organisations are considering their corporate social responsibility as well as seeking to minimise the cost and disruption of absence in the workplace.  Corporate social responsibility focuses on sustainability of the business and of jobs, and is about giving something back of value to employees and the wider community.  But are you struggling to know how best to achieve this?  The Mind Your Head Conference is a practical opportunity for business leaders and HR Managers to explore ideas and activities that support this.

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