Mental health is a huge topic and one that has become more prominent within the media and public awareness within recent years. Yet talking about mental health is still easier said than done. Yes, huge strides are being made in breaking the stigmas around the subject, but there’s still a lot more work to be done – and businesses can help. Here at AfB, we’re embedding mental health awareness into our culture. So much so, that our managers completed a training course with mental health charity, MIND, to ensure that they are able to best spot and support any employees who may be suffering from mental health concerns. Here’s a snippet of what we learnt…

The stats

1 in 4 of us suffer from mental health issues. Yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For those affected, not being able to talk about mental health issues is a huge hindrance. In fact, recent figures released on Time to Talk Day (1st February) stated that 66% of people in the UK feel they have no one to talk to when it comes to personal topics of conversation, such as mental health, money problems and relationships. It shouldn’t lie on the shoulders of those affected to lead the discussion around mental health.The dialogue around mental health should bring people together to share personal experiences and thoughts, after all mental health is an issue that affects us all no matter how big of small. If you don’t think mental health is an all-encompassing social issue then take a look at these current stats from MIND:

  • Mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost and costs £30 billion each year, more than for any other illness
  • 75% of mental illness (excluding dementia) starts before age 18
  • By 2030 depression will be the biggest cause of illness
  • There were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013. The main crises associated with anxiety are panic attacks and experiences of a traumatic event. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales

Our call to action

There might not be an instant solution for someone suffering from mental health issues, but one thing was clear from our training session – the small things can make a big difference. The small act of participating in an open and honest discussion about mental health can reassure others that it’s ok to talk about their mental health. Here at AfB, we’re now starting all 1-2-1’s with a chat about how YOU are feeling. We’re seriously committed to embedding this discussion into our culture, so much so that we’ve implemented questions about discussing mental health into our recruitment process.

In addition to our 1-2-1’s, we’re also training our staff into becoming Mental Health First Aiders and we’re holding monthly mental wellbeing committee meetings. Generating a regular dialogue with frequent 1-2-1 check-ins, which will enable our team to recognise mental health concerns in themselves and in others.

The importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing at AfB

At the end of the day everyone has mental and emotional health. It’s what makes us human! There are loads of factors that can affect our mental health from daily changes like the weather and the traffic on our way into work, through to stressful one-off situations like a bereavement or a bad relationship. That’s why it’s key to talk openly about how we’re feeling, so no problem becomes too big. As the saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. However, Mental Health is a serious issue, so we are committed to ensuring our employees are properly trained to be able to best deal with any situation that arises. We hope sharing our thoughts and actions from our training session with MIND has informed and encouraged you to speak more openly about mental health.

The importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing at AfB