See Change has identified the workplace as a key setting for social change around attitudes to mental health problems to take place. Our goal is to help facilitate a cultural shift in workplaces so that employers and employees feel supported and secure in starting a discussion about how mental health can affect each one of us.
See Change has developed a six step pledge programme to help Irish workplaces create an open culture around mental health and play a role in challenging mental health stigma. By signing up to the See Change workplace pledge, organisations are showing that they are committed to creating an open culture around mental health for managers and employees.
Once organisations have committed to completing the six step pledge programme, See Change can offer our “Mental health in the workplace” workshops to line managers. The half-day (3-hour session) workshop provides information on mental health and mental health problems for employers, managers and employees as well as offering best practise advice on creating workplaces that are free of stigma and discrimination and equipped to support the mental health needs of the organisation.
For more information on our six step pledge and workshops for line managers please contact Dolores@seechange.ie.
Mental health and employment are undeniably important and intertwined aspects of a person’s daily life yet See Change research has found that almost half of Irish people would deliberately conceal a mental health problem from co-workers.
According to Millward Brown & See Change research report “Irish Attitudes and Behaviours to Mental Health 2012”:
- 57% believe that being open about a mental health problem at work would have a negative impact on job & career prospects (up from 48% in 2010)
- 47% believe that being open about a mental health problem at work would have a negative effect on a person’s relationship with colleagues (up from 36% in 2010)
Without open discussion of mental health problems, valuable time is wasted hiding something that can often be easily supported within an organisation.
The business case for creating a workplace that is open to discussing mental health
It makes good business sense to support employees who are struggling with mental health problems. In 2008 the Mental Health Commission report The Economics of Mental Health Care in Ireland estimated the direct annual cost of poor mental health in Ireland at €3 billion. These costs include:
- Loss of potential labour supply
- Reduced productivity in the workplace.
- Poor performance
- Reduced morale
- Low motivation
- Reduced productivity
- Reduced efficiency
- Faulty decision making
- Poor industrial relations
- High staff turnover
- Early retirement
- Management time to deal with issues
- Providing temporary cover
- Complaints and litigation associated with problems
- Costs to government of health care and rehab
According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) stress, anxiety and depression are the leading causes of long term absence for non-manual workers and the current economic climate has exacerbated stress levels in the workplace.
Creating workplace environments where people can be open and positive about their own and others’ mental health:
- promotes overall organisational and individual wellbeing
- reduces absenteeism
- enhances employee stress management skills
- reduces cost associated with absenteeism, employee relations issues, talent retention and acquisition
- can assist employers in developing systems to support the 1 in 4 employees who may experience mental health difficulties at a given point.