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This week, 15th – 21st May 2023, is Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme of this year’s campaign is #ToHelpMyAnxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. Just within the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time. Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, for example, work, home life, financial pressures, and with the current cost-of-living crisis and price of energy hikes, no wonder so many people feel stressed.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face. In a recent mental health survey carried out around stress, anxiety and hopelessness over personal finances, a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they wanted to do some or all of the time. One positive note? Anxiety can be made easier to manage.
Anxiety was chosen by Mental Health Foundation for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week to increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem.
Workplace anxiety is a thing. In fact, 60% of employees are experiencing anxiety. There’s a lot to deal with while working, no matter your role or seniority, and sometimes it can get the better of us. However, despite the large quantity, only one in 10 employees are currently seeking support for their mental health, including counselling, talking therapies and medication.
We’ve spoken before about stress in the workplace, and how 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress can be a trigger for anxiety, which is why it’s crucial that measures are put in place to help support your people.
Despite so many workers experiencing anxiety, it can still be seen as very taboo. Why? People still have a lack of understanding as to what anxiety actually is and how it affects others. It’s not caused by ‘worrying too much’, and it certainly does not make you weak.
It’s time to destroy the misconceptions and taboo air around anxiety in the workplace to support those suffering. Together, let’s put managing employee mental health at the forefront.
When work is busy, it’s easy enough to forget about those all-important 1:1 catch-ups between manager and employee. It happens! In this remote/hybrid working world we live in, it’s even more crucial to book in those weekly one-on-one chats with team members individually, because you don’t get to see them every day. Even if you’re in the office full time, just because you see them physically, when was the last time you actually just ‘caught up’?
Whether it be discussing any problems they have at work or what was the best Netflix show they just binge-watched, these catchups are important. Why? Not only does it create rapport and develops better relationships, but it also forms a sense of security for individuals to know that they can go to their manager or supervisor if they have an issue, or just need that chat.
It’s good to get talking. And it’s good to get listening. Why not organise support groups where people can optionally join, virtual or irl? We learn a lot from each other, and although anxiety affects everyone in different ways, it certainly helps to hear advice from those also suffering, and also just to feel comforted that you’re not alone!
It’s great to have 1:1s – but some people don’t find it as easy to actually discuss anxiety with someone, especially at work. That’s perfectly okay! But that doesn’t mean they don’t need the support. Internal webinars are a great way to present information about anxiety, how it’s affected in the workplace, and how the company is there for them, as well as links to external sources that are there for support (see the end of the blog for our list!). With internal webinars, there’s a sense of anonymity which allows anyone suffering to gain useful information, without needing to always communicate their issues with anyone.
Anxiety, and mental health, as a whole, can be pretty misconceived, especially for those who’ve never really experienced it. Educating your workforce about mental health and anxiety is a great way to help your people build their understanding of the subjects. This helps them to become more aware of their actions in the workplace, or at home, and provides advice on how they can support those around them, creating a more inclusive environment. Take a look at our range of courses, from Positive Mental Health at Work to Wellbeing and Stress in the Workplace.
Benefits are important, and while a day off for your birthday or free coffee is nice, access to private medical care really is the winner. Access to private medical care, for example, Vitality Health, opens up a range of options for your people. It could include GP appointments, physio sessions, as well as therapy sessions and resources for mental health support. It’s not always easy to get help, and booking appointments for sessions such as therapy certainly isn’t cheap, so by providing private medical care, your people could get the help they need, sooner.
It’s not always easy to know how to help someone dealing with anxiety, or any mental health issue. With a few small changes to the workplace, you’re letting them know that they have your support, which is a huge difference to someone’s confidence.
Anxiety UK – Helpline: 03444 775 774 Text Support: 07537 416 905
SHOUT – Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258
CALM – Helpline: 0800 58 58 58
Rethink Mental Illness – Helpline: 0300 5000 957