Founded Blog, Founded Thinking | May 17, 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week

By Ellie Bissett, Account Manager

Did you know that 1 in 6 British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety and depression every year? In 2018, stress and anxiety accounted for the majority of work days lost due to ill health. The subject of mental health has exploded over the last few years through the power of social media, with accounts posting dedicated content due to the growing cohort of viewers wishing to overcome barriers that really affect how they live.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. To honour this great cause we’ve been doing some reflection and research on how we all can maintain a healthier mindset in and out of the workplace.

Research shows that 40% of people think it is okay to answer work emails at the dinner table whilst 66% of people believe they do not have a good work-life balance. Mental health in the workplace is something that we should all be aware of; companies often try to offer office perks intended to make the workplace a more social and inviting environment using free food and drinks to indirectly combat a problem. Although a foosball table and beer fridge do make office life more amusing, they don’t provide the support that your mental health truly needs. These stats alone show how important it is for these issues to be properly addressed.

If you work for a large organisation it can be pretty tricky to change the mindset of the whole company. There are a few things that can be done which will really brighten up your day, leave you feeling positive and dare I say, excited to come to work!

Firstly, we believe that in order for you to feel positive during work hours you need to think about your lifestyle outside of the work hours. Start by turning your work phone off when you get home, you could be spending quality time with your friends and family instead of answering your emails. Or, instead of working on your commute, why not try listening to a podcast or reading a book (I’d highly recommend the Happy Place podcast – it’s amazing!) Whilst this all sounds like simple stuff, it will really help you relax and take your mind off work-related stress which can contribute to poor mental health.

One thing that I’ve learned is that if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed when you get into work, it’s really important you talk to someone. Having a quick 10-minute chat to go through your priorities and concerns can set you up for a great day. Another life-changer is taking your full lunch break (I know right, who has time for that?!) But if you try and get outside and some fresh air, even for 20-minutes, you will come back with a clear mind.

I think it’s really easy for us to get bogged down with the urgency of day-to-day tasks and feel as though the world will end if something doesn’t get done. It’s easy to see when someone is feeling like this, so simply apricating other people’s stress and offering to help when you can make someone’s day, it might even make your day helping someone else.

Establishing this kind of helpful and supportive culture is such an important step in creating a positive working environment, and everyone has to get involved. As a team, everyone should be encouraging each other, and reminding each other that support and help is there should you need it.