Of course we all love a happy workplace. Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May) is shining the spotlight on the mental health problems that millions of working people face every day, supported by the rather catchy tag line ‘Surviving or Thriving?’
When we consider that 14.7% of people experience mental health problems within the workplace, it’s a good thing that people are starting to feel more comfortable talking about their illness, yet many still find it difficult to open up about their problems with managers and colleagues.
Earlier this year, the PRCA released a report titled “Exploring the mental wellbeing of the public relations profession”. The report highlighted a number of findings surrounding the impact of poor mental health in the communications industry with key contributing factors including financial pressure; long hours and tight deadlines; office politics; and a lack of respect and understanding for public relations.
So far this week we’ve seen some brilliant campaigns which will hopefully go a long way to enabling people to feel more comfortable talking about their mental health. Instagram’s #HereForYou campaign, for example, is encouraging people to share photos along with their personal mental health related experiences, while #HappyPlaces is asking for followers to share an image of their happy place to raise awareness and money for mental health charity, Mind.
Away from social media, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, has invited professional and budding photographers to submit images that explore masculinity and mental health. These images are being shown at the Getty Images Gallery in London, and aim to encourage conversation and eradicate stigma surrounding mental illness.
Meanwhile, in the City, some of the biggest businesses are encouraging their staff to take steps to improve their mental health. KPMG’s ‘Take 30 to Thrive’ campaign, for example, aims to emphasise the importance of taking some time out during the working day to recharge and de-stress.
Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, the PRCA Council held a series of focus groups around mental health which will form the basis of the Association’s policy on mental health in the workplace. If you simply can’t wait to read what the PRCA suggests, here are a few simple suggestions we can all follow to improve our working day:
- Ensure you take regular breaks away from your desk.
- Organise and participate in team building activities to improve relations with colleagues.
- Practice mindfulness in your spare time. This could include anything from simple breathing exercises and meditation techniques to taking part in yoga.
Mental health is getting more media coverage and it’s encouraging to see some of the UK’s top organisations and media outlets supporting the campaign.
Here’s to a happy and healthy workplace!