We will all come into contact with mental health issues at some point in our lives, whether that is personally, a loved one, a colleague, employee or friend. It is time for a global shift in how we view mental health, the language we are using, the conversations we are having, what we can do about it and getting the help that is needed.
I have a personal story to tell, and you can find out more about that in my blog posts that I’ll be releasing over the coming weeks and months and in my bio here.
In short, I tragically lost my partner to suicide at the start of 2018. As I’m sure you can imagine, having experienced this incredibly personal loss due to suicide; and having supported many people in my volunteer work, this is now a subject very close to my heart and something I am determined to do something about.
I want to use my experience and help others to make a positive and lasting change.
Below you will find some shocking statistics around mental illness.
We spend most of our waking life at work, and so this is where I intend to begin… by helping business to create a positive culture and environment we can start to effect a huge shift in mental health for individuals and businesses alike. The ripple effect of this will be huge and life changing.
- Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year – many more experience symptoms associated with mental ill health but do not have a diagnosis.
- Approximately 5500 people die by suicide in the UK every year – statistics are not available relating to attempted suicide or those living with suicidal thoughts but evidence suggests this affects hundreds of thousands people. The Samaritans receive a call every 58 seconds from someone that is suicidal. Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49. Most of those people will have been experiencing a mental health issue – and most of them would have been part of the UK work force.
- Depression and Anxiety are the most commonly experienced mental health conditions – both are prevalent in the work place and a common cause of absence from work and lost productivity due to both absence and presenteeism.
- Mental Illness is the largest single burden of disease in the UK -and Mental Health issues are responsible for 91 Million working days lost in the UK at a cost of about £30 billion a year – stress, anxiety and depression being the most common issues. Presenteeism – meaning turning up for work while unwell, costs the UK economy around £15 billion a year.
- Poor mental health has a huge ripple affect – poor performance at work, absence, lost income, damage to family life, poor quality of life and a much shorter life span.
- There is a lack of understanding about the signs and symptoms of mental illness which contributes to the stigma surrounding mental ill-health - stigma prevents people from seeking help, while lack of knowledge and/or confidence can prevent those working with a person in mental distress from providing them with appropriate support.
- Businesses have a moral duty to provide better support to their employees when it comes to their Mental Health and Wellbeing. For many businesses this is unknown territory and requires significant cultural change. We can support any type of business to effect change, to create a positive culture of mental health where employees will feel more comfortable to ask for help when they need it.