Mental Health Awareness Week takes place between 9 to 15 May 2022. The official theme of the week is ‘loneliness’, which seems fitting given the events of the last two years. Across the week, mental health campaigns and organisations are encouraging people to build meaningful connections with their friends, family and colleagues.
Loneliness and Mental Health
Many people are affected by loneliness at one time or another. The isolation that we feel can have a profound impact on our mental health. Loneliness can both be the driver for and a product of poor mental health of an individual.
In light of the pandemic, there has been a considerable shift in our daily lifestyle which have exacerbated the problems of loneliness and isolation. Work routines and the workplace as a whole have also changed. With hybrid or completely remote working becoming the norm for many, we need to ensure that relations with colleagues are still built and maintained despite the lack of physical interaction.
There has been positive changes surrounding mental health in recent times. For instance, stigma around some mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have improved, and the government is currently reforming the Mental Health Act and consulting on a 10 year cross departmental plan for mental health.
Yet while many of us feel more at ease to talk about our mental health and wellbeing, there still needs to be a greater shift in the narrative around mental illness. In total, it is estimated that mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year. Clearly, we still have a long way to go in tackling mental health on a large scale.
There are many things employers can do to reduce the feeling of loneliness and the incidence of poor mental health issues. These include:
- Raising awareness of the links between loneliness and poor mental health
- Provide safe and welcoming spaces to talk and support each other
- Utilise technology to keep in touch with colleagues
- Train mental health first aiders at your workplace
- Provide staff (and managers) with a confidential telephone helpline that is available at any time to talk about their problems
With these in mind, we can proactively address the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing. Connecting to other people and our community is vital to for our mental health and combatting the epidemic of loneliness.
At THSP, we have trained six members of our team as mental health first aiders and found it to be hugely beneficial to us as an organisation and we can now deliver this training online to our customers.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of this, you are not alone, most of us are at the beginning of this journey. But at THSP, we are always happy to share our experiences and offer help to those customers looking to make a change.
Whatever is happening in your workplace that could impact people’s mental health, it’s worth tackling it head-on. Call us on 03456 122144 and we’ll help you to reduce long term effects of poor mental health.