Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

Monday 15 – Sunday 21 May 2023 marks this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week and provides an ideal time for people to increase their understanding and awareness of mental health. Studies show that 1 in 3 of the UK’s workforce have been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their life. With this year’s theme being anxiety, it is important now more than ever that employers help educate their employees on the significance in learning how we can prevent mental health problems from escalating to protect our mental well-being.

  • What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural emotion that everyone can feel day-to-day which leaves us feeling worried or afraid. There are a lot of things that can lead to someone feeling anxious including relationships, starting a new job, social situations, financial issues or other life happenings. Anxiety is persistent and if feelings are not dealt with, it can lead to people not being able to carry out their normal everyday tasks.

Symptoms of anxiety can be physical and psychological, and some people can experience more symptoms than others. Physical symptoms can include increased heart rate, dizziness, tension headaches, hyperventilating and tight feelings in the chest. Psychological symptoms can include feeling overwhelmed, feeling detached from everything else, feeling a need to escape and that you could lose control.

  • How can you tell if your employees are struggling with anxiety?

Has an employee lost interest in their work? Are they becoming increasingly more absent? Do they appear to be on-edge, irritated, overly tired or short-tempered? Have there been instances where they have complained of chest pains or unexpectantly broke down in tears at work? These are just a few symptoms to look out for.

  • How can you support employees with anxiety?

There may be occasions where an employee feels comfortable in talking to you about their anxiety so by arranging a one-to-one meeting with them, you can listen to their problems and offer support. However, in instances where employees may not feel comfortable expressing their feelings to you as their employer, encourage them to talk to another employee or friend. Building relationships can help create a positive working environment and reduce their sense of being alone.

Work-related stress is one of the main causes of anxiety. Communicate with your employee and identify if there are any work-related pressures that may be contributing towards their anxiety. Reducing their workload can help reduce their pressure and eliminate their feelings of burning out. However, if the employee has a lot of responsibilities in their job role and a reduced workload is not possible, flexible working agreements can be put in place to offer the employee flexible working hours or hybrid working.

By focusing on your employees’ health and wellbeing, you can help limit the number of employee absences, increase employee productivity and create a happier workplace environment.

For further HR support on the topic discussed or any other HR related issues, please contact us on 01656 336097 or email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help!