These are some scary statistics. As corporate businesses, friends and family we need to be aware and try to support others where we can as well as being mindful of our own mental health. With this in mind we are supporting Mental Health Awareness Day on 10th October. It is without doubt that businesses have a responsibility and a duty of care to their employees, to provide them with a safe place to work. This is not only a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 or Equality of Work Act 2010; but from a CSR perspective. Simply by taking care of your employees, in a safe environment and giving the best tools possible to complete their jobs will result in greater productivity and less absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace.
What are the signs of mental ill health?
If you are new to understanding about mental health, you might not necessarily know what the signs are, although your instincts may well tell you something is not quite right. We wanted to share with you 5 things to look out for which might suggest that someone is experiencing mental ill health:
1. Sleep or appetite changes – is the individual eating more or less; or perhaps looking tired.
2. Mood Changes – an individual is experiencing rapid changes in moods snapping or anxious.
3. Unusual behaviour – perhaps acting in a strange and uncharacteristic way.
4. Withdrawal – Are they perhaps going out less or having less engagement with friends and family.
5. Problems in thinking – are you observing that they are less able to focus on a task or not remembering details of a project.
What steps can you take to help someone?
If you recognise some of the above signs and worried that a colleague, friend or family member maybe experiencing mental ill health it can be tricky to know how to best support them. We also wanted to share a couple of things you to do which might help:
1. Find a space which is comfortable, relaxed, open and away from distractions to help them relax to open up.
2. Listen and communicate non-judgementally. Sometimes just giving someone space and time to be heard can be enough, listen to what they have to say, pauses and silence is OK.
3. Keep questions open ended and non-judgemental.
4. Offer reassurance. Feeling vulnerable can be scary, letting them know they are not alone can be a real help.
5. Stay calm.
6. Be patient. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pry, let them tell you as much or as little as they feel comfortable to do so.
7. Know your limits. Be aware of how far you are able to help someone and understand the options of where you could refer them to, to see further help.
8. Write down a list of questions they may have and would like answers to or things they may wish to find out more about.
How to steps to achieve happiness
So with mental ill health on the rise what steps can we take as individuals to take care of ourselves and try to lead a happier life. Thankfully MHFA England have put some ideas together which we summarise below:
1. Connections. People around you can help, take a chance and meet up with someone you have not seen in a while.
2. Exercise. Taking regular exercise and getting out in the fresh air will give you an endorphin boost. Find an activity which you enjoy.
3. Awareness. Take some time to be mindful, be in the moment and enjoy what you are doing, whether that is being with you family, cooking or watching TV.
4. Giving. Helping someone else gives a great feeling of satisfaction.
5. Learning. Try learning something new – perhaps you have always wanted to know more about gardening or how to speak Spanish – simulating your brain will help.
6. Direction. Set small, realistic goals to achieve and progress forward with.
7. Resilience. Whilst we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we react to it, take action to be more mindful in how you respond to events.
8. Be Grateful. Look at all of the good things you have in your world and be grateful for them.
9. Acceptance. No one is perfect and understanding that this is the case can make all of the difference.
We are delighted to let you know that I am now an accredited Instructor Member, approved by MHFA England to deliver Adult MHFA training, training others in the work place to become a mental health first aider. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid and we have 3 courses planned for 2020 – you are welcome to join us! Alternatively, if you wish for us to come in and train employees in your business we can arrange a bespoke programme to suit your needs.
To find out more about our Mental First Aid Courses and to book please CLICK HERE