Businesses and education providers across the UK could save up to £8 billion a year if they invested in better mental health support in the workplace, according to experts.
With mental health issues being heightened, or emerging out of the pandemic, we spoke to experienced mental health counsellor Sheila McMahon to find out why it’s so important for employers to invest in mental health training for their workforce.
“For a company to function well, they need their employees to be well,” said Sheila.
“But when we’re faced with statistics that reveal 1 in 6.8 people will be experiencing mental health problems in the workplace right now, and that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions, it’s clear that there’s still work to be done to improve mental health support in UK businesses.
“But with long waiting lists for counselling – which have been exacerbated by the pandemic – we can’t just rely on referrals to professionals, as they may be come too late.”
“A problem shared is a problem halved, so we need to improve on our listening and communication skills” – Sheila McMahon, counsellor
Sheila is a Lichfield-based mental health counsellor and her experience spans from being a private counsellor to delivering mental health training and talks to schools, headteachers, and businesses across the Midlands and the wider UK, including throughout the pandemic.
“When someone is struggling they might just want to talk,” added Sheila, who is the founder and CEO of Mind Management For You.
“But that doesn’t have to be a professional. The listening ear of a colleague or friend can be enough as they often just need to tell their story – it comes back to that age old saying that a problem shared is a problem halved.
“If we can teach each other to be better listeners and be there for each other we might be able to save someone who doesn’t want to be here anymore.”
The right skills could help you to recognise and support someone who is struggling
She went on to say: “You will often hear people talk about one conversation having changed their lives.
“You could be that one person that saves someone else who is struggling. We need to help employees to improve their skills to enable them to have the insight and the confidence to be able to step in and help when it’s needed.
“Mental Health Training works in a preventative way, because employees can look out for each other, recognise the signs and know what to do. We can achieve this through sharing intervention tools and improving listening skills to help any struggling individuals share the burden of the load that’s on their shoulders.
“Investing in mental health at work also helps to creates an open and honest culture where employees know their wellbeing is valued by their employer, which also goes a long way to creating a happy, loyal and productive workforce.”
Sheila shares free tips and advice on her social media channels every week, including on her YouTube channel.
She also runs monthly Mental health Awareness Online Training courses. Her next session will be held on Friday, 28th January 2022, from 9am to 12 midday.
For more information or to book please visit www.mindmanagementforyou.com.