How do we support our Employee’s Mental Health as Employers?
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and is hosted by The Mental Health Foundation, the theme this year is kindness.
Kindness can be anything from being friendly, generous and considerate or even just a smile or kind gesture.
There are many ways that you can be kind to someone and not all of them involve a grand gesture or great expense.
STERIS IMS places great importance on supporting their employees with their mental health and you can read more about this further down in our blog.
The Mental Health Foundation recently conducted a study with YouGov. As part of this study, they asked 4,246 UK adults aged 18 and above to take part in an online survey.
They found that 63% of their group agree that when others are kind, it has a positive impact on their mental health. This same percentage agreed that being kind to others also has a positive impact on their mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation describes the following benefits of being kind:
- Helping others feels good
- It reduces isolation and creates a sense of belonging
- It can help to keep things in perspective e.g. a different perspective can have an impact on your outlook on life.
- Simply, being kind helps to make the world a happier place
- The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself (think of what we discussed above, being kind has a positive impact on your own mental health)
Of course, there is another form of kindness which is very important when it comes to mental health and well-being, and this is being kind to ourselves.
In the survey conducted by The Mental Health Foundation and YouGov, they found that the same group of people 67% agreed that looking after their own needs is just as important as being kind to others. 41% of them said that they try to make time to be kind to themselves.
There are many ways that you can be kind to yourself:
- Positive meditation is a popular method
- Take time to do something just for you, something that you enjoy
- Exercise self-care – this is the key to improved mood and reduced anxiety
- Spend time in nature
- Treat yourself
Really, being kind to ourselves could be any thought or action that makes us feel good.
There is lots of great information on kindness on the Mental Health Awareness Week campaign website: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
How does STERIS IMS Supports its Employees ?
As well as being kind, we must remember that Mental Health Awareness Week is also of course, a focus on mental health.
At STERIS, we believe in our people. Part of this belief is supporting our employees and their households.
We all know that nationally mental health problems are the leading cause of absence from work. In fact, 1 in 5 of us will all experience a mental health problem in our lifetime. Combined with this is the impact of Covid-19 and the impact of lockdown on our mental health for both those individuals who already have existing conditions and those who do not.
A recent study undertaken by Medrxiv reports tha the UK lockdown and Covid-19 pandemic have had a negative effect on people’s mental health. This study has reported that there is an increase in anxiety and depression in UK adults.
According to the study, scores on general anxiety and depression are higher than normal.
There is an association with depression and anxiety with isolation. This has emphasised that there is a need for more ways of people feeling connected and supported during this time of low social contact.
More details on this study can be found here: (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.24.20078550v1)
The World Economic Forum recently stated that one third of the world’s population is in lockdown or are living in significantly altered states of normality.
Individuals will all think and feel differently in their response to these changes but for those who may be struggling at this time please be assured that help is available. For STERIS IMS employees we provide help via the occupational health service (this includes employees family members as well).
This service is available 24/7, 365 days per year and can provide both counselling support and legal advice and information to any employee or their family member in need of assistance.
But of course, you do not have to work for STERIS IMS to get support if you are struggling with your mental health.
You can also access independent websites and we have compiled a list of these here
https://www.mind.org.uk – Mind
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk – Mental Health Foundation
https://youngminds.org.uk – Young Minds is especially for children and young people
You can also contact your GP and speak to them. Despite face to face consultations being limited surgeries are still offering telephone and video consultations (please check with your local surgery).
If you are feeling desperate, please know help is always available and you are not alone. Samaritans offer a confidential service 24/7 please call free on 116 123 and GP’s are still available for consultations.
You can also read dedicated support materials which have been issued by Public Health England:
We recommend you monitor your mental health on a regular basis to ensure you can seek help at the right time to get you back on track.
Public Health England have developed a quiz which assesses your mental health and gives you a summary and tips should your score indicate you need some additional short-term support.
You can access it by following this link or google: ‘Mental Health Quiz PHE’ https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/how-are-you-quiz/
* Canter D, Youngs D, Yaneva M. Towards a measure of kindness: An exploration of a neglected interpersonal trait. Pers Individ Dif. 2017;106:15–20.