We have been looking into ways that businesses can support their staff experiencing mental ill-health (however this goes beyond the workplace). Having a culture that is supportive rather than one that belittles, pre-judges and stigmatises can only beneficial for all.
The possibility of you working with someone who is experiencing mental ill-health is extremely high. 1 in 4 of us will experience an episode of mental ill-health in our life - these experiences have a massive impact upon our self-esteem and work productivity.
With early support these affects can be massively reduced and last a lot shorter in period days and weeks rather than months and years. Many businesses across the UK are not that great at supporting staff with their mental well-being, which is costing business billions each year.
The overall cost is believed to be around £1300 per employee totalling £35b. Companies are now starting to recognise the financial impact from the lack of support by investing in training, awareness and private therapy. On average for every 80p invested in support a company saves £4 on future costs. Therefore investing in a basic mental health awareness training course for £500 can save a business unto £2500 on future costs.
Even with this investment you only make real differences to individuals and businesses when cultures and attitudes are changed.
Having a tough conversations isn't easy - but with support and the right culture we can make them easier. Our first piece of advice for business owners, managers and supervisors is to first take ownership of their own stories.
Individuals we all most likely have experienced something that could be classed as a mental ill-health experience. Theses are normal - but hiding them or framing as something else is not taking ownership of them. Taking ownership is recognising that you did experiences XYZ and it made you feel ABC - they happened, we can't change them. We can learn from them and be proud that you survived them (or at least working towards surviving them).
When an environment is created around people being able to be open without fear of being the only one, fear of repercussions or fear of being ignored, other will emulate. Cultures are developed by others emulating others that are successful or liked - being the owner of the story and sharing them will inspire others to do the same. Having the courage to be a follower is the key within cultures - treating individuals as equals is the key.
This will create an environment where it is ok to be not ok. There will be other steps to take after this and at the same time. Knowing how to start these kind of conversations, what to say to others, knowing where to get additional help and the practical things you can do within your workplace without breaking the bank.
Rotundus has created a short introductory workshop aimed at businesses to take the first steps in creating the right culture - for more information click here.
The workshop is ideal for individual businesses or a group of individuals from a variety of businesses and organisations - this will be no textbook workshop, but a real insight to mental ill-health by those who have lived and experienced mental ill-health in a frank, open and honest way.