World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2017
World Mental Health Day is recognized on 10 October every year, with a relevant theme set to highlight global concerns; this year the World Federation for Mental Health have focused on ‘mental health in the workplace’.
The Health Promotion team were joined by the Gibraltar Welfare Society, several students from the Gibraltar College and a representative from both Ocean Views and the Psychological support group. A collective campaign was held in town to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health, particularly in the workplace, and to highlight potential considerations for employers.
Most of us spend a great part of our day in the workplace which is a key factor in supporting and protecting mental health. A workplace mental health and wellbeing survey in the UK identified that 86% of all respondents believed that their job and being at work was important to protecting and maintaining their mental health.
It is important to create an environment in which staff can feel supported – an open-door policy and an ethos of understanding provides the best possible opportunity to solve problems. The skills of empathy, flexibility, time, boundaries and support all go a long way in supporting staff in times of need.
Unfortunately, however, stigma remains a significant barrier to help seeking, both in terms of fear of discrimination and perceptions of weakness or incompetence.
Employers who demonstrate a positive first discussion about distress can create patterns of hope and an expectation of understanding and empathy. On the other hand, a hesitant or negative discussion can confirm fears of discrimination and create patterns of uncertainty, reinforce embarrassment and self-stigma.
Workplaces and managers should make use of evidence-based tools such as mindfulness and supporting physical activities that can support resilience; also recognizing that coordinated strategies for promoting mental health and increasing management skills can reap many positive dividends.
- Value mental health and wellbeing as core business assets.
Support the development of compassionate and effective line management relationships.
- Address discrimination and support disclosure.
- Value the diversity and transferable skills that the lived experience of mental health problems brings.
The Mental Health Foundation offers a range of services, training and development to promote and develop mental health at work (Please contact Chris O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are worried about the mental health of someone you know, or wish to speak to someone about your own mental wellbeing, the Gibraltar Samaritans have a helpline service you can call for free: 116123
For any advice in a crisis you can contact the Gibraltar Community Mental Welfare Officer: 200 07831