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Time to talk about wellbeing in the workplace

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 October 2017

Lauren Ephithite, Norfolk mental health blogger. Photo: Lauren Ephithite

Lauren Ephithite, Norfolk mental health blogger. Photo: Lauren Ephithite

Lauren Ephithite

Today is World Mental Health Day organised by the World Health Organisation.

This year the theme is mental health in the workplace.

Mental health has never had a higher profile in the media and the news. Celebrities are revealing that they have anxiety but how much are us ordinary folk talking about it?

According to Time to Change, the campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination around mental health, mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence from work in the UK.

But how many of us reveal to our work colleagues or managers that we have a mental health problem?

It’s ‘normal’ to be stressed, overworked and tired. With all the restructures and redundancies who wants to risk admitting that they’re not coping?

I have struggled with anxiety and depression for over 10 years but have never talked about it.

This year I made a resolution to be open about my mental health.

I had a brilliant reaction from my manager when I told her that I was struggling.

We have worked together to make sure I have the support I need.

She has understood when I’ve cried without knowing why I was upset, when I really couldn’t get out of bed and I’ve been able to work from home when I couldn’t face seeing people.

However, I know that many people continue to suffer in silence at the risk of facing stigma.

So what can you do to change this? Make an effort to say hello and chat to someone over your morning coffee.

Share if you’re feeling anxious about something.

Take a proper break at lunchtime, go for a walk or read a book.

If you are a manager, be open and let your employees know that you understand – promote wellbeing, tackle stressful situations that can cause poor mental health, be supportive to anyone who experiences difficulties and have flexible working arrangements.

Being open about mental health and improving wellbeing works for everyone – less time off sick, higher productivity and better results all round.

Start today for World Mental Health Day.

• Lauren Ephithite is a Norfolk-based mental health blogger for www.millysguide.com

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