Blog  Mental Health Awareness Week   Josie

Mental Health Awareness Week

Published on 13th May 2019

I recently joined Ambition after working in Health and Social care for a number of years after completing my Psychology degree. As an individual who has worked in this field, it is perhaps unsurprising that Mental Health Awareness is so important to me.

However, in this blog, I want to express why mental health is an important issue for all of us, not just those who work in the field.

Why is mental health awareness so important?

Mental Health issues can take many different forms and vary from person to person, and over time. The importance of awareness and opening the topic of conversation is simple - mental health issues are all around us.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the UK will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, as well as 1 in 10 children, and this doesn’t include those living in “silence”.

So here in the London office, Ambition is embracing the opportunity to celebrate and promote Mental Health Awareness. We want to embrace our PRIDE values to be inclusive of all individuals in order to help people be the best they can be and strive to make an impact on candidates and clients alike.

What can be done to promote good mental health in the workplace?

Mental health education and practice is vital, especially in the workplace, as individuals spend a large amount of their week at work. Creating an environment that promotes good mental health is important for the health and wellbeing of individuals as employers do have a duty of care and an obligation not to discriminate due to disability.

Good practices to promote good mental health can have positive business outcomes such as:

•    Increased productivity and efficiency, as well as innovation for the business 

•    Increase profit margins and reduce business costs

•    Improve staff morale and overall teamwork

•    Can reduce sickness and sick leave, presenteeism and staff turnover

•    The reputation of the employee, the team and the company.

Following guidance from the Mental Health Foundation and charities, like MIND, there has been a real focus on the destigmatisation of mental health and encouraging positive mental health practices.

Some ideas that can be promoted in the workplace to reduce stress, anxiety, and social isolation could be:

•    Staff to be encouraged to “Take a break” or a change of scene on a regular basis

•    Communication - active communication with your manager or colleague to openly discuss personal and workplace stressors or pressures and be active in finding solutions or suggestions. This could be offering external support networks.

Alongside this, research has suggested there are activities that workplaces can adopt to assist in individuals’ personal wellbeing, such as:

•    Active relaxation - this is doing activities to get the heart rate working alongside focusing on the mind and calm. Examples are walking, Pilates and Yoga.

•    Being creative can help with emotions and feelings

•    Team sports can also create a sense of unity and help express emotions also.

•    Breathing exercises can help some people to relax and to focus on the mind

•    Resting and sleeping are suggested to be as important for the mind as the body. Some businesses offer ‘nap pods’ or quiet areas employees can escape to when they need some downtime.

In light of this research, the team and I have devised a week of awareness and wellbeing tips to promote the often awkward topic of Mental Health. This is not a topic that is going away any time soon, neither should these conversations.

Ambition are looking forward to a week of fabulous activities to use some great techniques to combat the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as team building. We will be taking part in Curry & a Chaat, running a boot camp for our staff and having a team discussion on how we can look after our mental health.