The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October each year, and this year’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.
This year, we would like to take the opportunity to talk about workplace stress and how to manage it.
Many employees are unwilling to talk about workplace stress because of the stigma stress has. But it’s important to remember that stress is not a weakness, and it happens to everyone.
Every day in the UK, around 42,000 workers can’t work due to stress. That’s almost the equivalent to the entire Metropolitan Police Workforce.
Work-related stress and mental health problems often go hand in hand, and the symptoms can be similar. Work can also worsen pre-existing conditions, and issues at work can potentially bring on symptoms and make them worse.
If you are feeling stressed at work, it is important to speak about it. If you can, try and speak to your manager as soon as possible. This will give them the chance to help you and prevent the situation from getting worse.
If the stress is coming from your manager, try and find out what policies are in place to deal with this. If you can’t find any, you could talk to your trade union representative, the HR department, an independent employee assistance programme or counselling service, or even your GP.
If you feel you have a mental health problem, you must report this to your GP straight away. But it is also a good idea to raise it with your line manager or HR department too.
There might also be things you can do day-to-day to help, for example:
- Be clear on requirements
- Take your lunchbreak away from your work
- Go for a short walk on your lunch, or even meet up with a friend for lunch if possible
- Take regular breaks
- Regulate your breathing
- Stay away from conflict
- Keep your workspace clean
- Be comfortable (especially if you sit at a desk)
- Take 5 minutes at the coffee machine to chat with colleagues
To find out more about World Mental Health Day, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk