Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Steps to tackle the workplace mental health crisis in Scotland

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, an additional 850,000 individuals have become economically inactive due to long-term sickness, with half suffering from depression or anxiety.

Given the alarming prevalence of mental health issues among Scottish professionals, it's evident that greater efforts are required to tackle the mental health challenges in our workplaces. We have outlined three essential steps to help Scotland to do so.

Communication is Key

Although the stigma surrounding mental health has fortunately diminished over time, there is still a need for greater discussion around the workplace and to what extent it contributes to the deterioration of an individual’s mental health. A staggering 55% of individuals in the UK report that their job negatively affects their mental health, highlighting the detrimental effect our professional lives can have on personal well-being.

Businesses must move away from an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to mental health and instead encourage open dialogue. It is important for employers and HR teams to be equipped to identify mental health struggles, such as declining work quality, tardiness, or social withdrawal, and initiate conversations. Employers should not only remain vigilant but also establish mechanisms to address these concerns. Many companies now offer counselling services as part of their employee insurance schemes, which should be actively promoted to facilitate ongoing communication and support.

Trust - The Foundation of a Healthy Workplace 

Navigating mental health challenges can be daunting, particularly when discussing them with employers. Fear of judgment, ostracization, and doubts about work capability often deter employees from opening up about their mental health. It's crucial for employees to feel supported by their employer and trust that their well-being is genuinely cared for.

While activities like well-being weeks and team-building exercises are helpful, building genuine trust goes beyond mere gestures. It involves listening to employees, taking their concerns seriously, and implementing HR practices that support both their mental health and career growth.

When this trust is reciprocated, it creates a workplace that is more flexible and enjoyable for everyone. Allowing employees to work from home when needed or adjusting schedules to accommodate personal obligations demonstrates a commitment to their best interests.

By prioritising trust, employers empower their workforce and create an atmosphere where mental health is openly discussed and valued. This trust lays the foundation for a healthier and more productive workplace for everyone involved.

Seek Advice from Peers and Businesses

Seeking advice from peers and businesses can be invaluable when dealing with mental health challenges at work. Having a network of professionals for support, advice, and shared experiences can provide essential guidance and encouragement. This can include sharing coping techniques, discussing effective communication strategies, or simply offering a listening ear.

Causeway offers a platform for professionals to share opportunities for growth in all areas of business, including strategies for managing mental health in the workplace. By joining Causeway, individuals can access a supportive community of like-minded professionals who understand the unique challenges of balancing mental health and career success.

If you want to connect with our network of business professionals across Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, explore our membership options today.

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