Mental health problems can occur in any individual, regardless of their job, gender, age or social background. Notwithstanding the causes of these problems it is likely that organisations and their members will have to deal with the symptoms and implications both in themselves and their colleagues.
Employers and managers report wanting to do more around mental health but also concern and frustration around not knowing what to say or how to support someone that they have noticed is struggling. When the issue is not disclosed it can be harder to put the right supports in place.
Over the last number of years we have made huge strides in starting conversations in society and in the workplace around mental health but there is still work to be done. Many employers are embracing the development of a culture of openness in the workplace and this supportive environment is an investment in the health and wellbeing of the entire organisation.
In 2008 the Mental Health Commission report The Economics of Mental Health Care in Ireland estimated the direct annual cost of poor mental health in Ireland at least €3 billion or 2 per cent of GNP. These costs include loss of potential labour supply, unemployment, absenteeism and reduced productivity in the workplace – preventing this and supporting our own and colleagues mental health is a solid investment.
Walk in My Shoes, a campaign of St Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation, are raising awareness of the importance of mental health in the work place while generating vital funds to provide mental health support, information and services to people in communities throughout Ireland. On October 10th they are asking organisations to step out of their comfort zone and wear shoes you normally wouldn’t for a day – odd shoes, mismatched shoes, wellies, slippers - and raise awareness for mental health.
Ibec and Walk in My Shoes are also collaborating on a breakfast briefing event as part of Ibec’s HR Roundtable series on Mental Health in the Workplace on November 4th. To book your place at this briefing please contact Alma Corcoran on 01 6051596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on mental health go to www.ibec.ie/0/mentalhealth
Tuesday, 29 September 2015