Helen Lickerish Consultancy Gillingham, Dorset

mental health in the workplace. mental health at work

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health is still a taboo subject in the workplace. There are, thankfully, more and more articles being published about this subject and the press are also flagging it up at the moment. Unfortunately, it may take some considerable time before attitudes to mental health in the workplace will change. The stigma around being stressed, anxious, depressed, or having an even more severe mental health issues such as psychotic episodes, mental breakdowns and suicidal tendencies is still very strong. People are afraid to admit to having a problem as they may be looked upon as "less-than", unable to perfom their work adequately or unworthy of the position they hold and consequently may lose their job. They may be worried that a visit to the GP may encumber them with a mental health record that could affect their chances of finding a new job. Often the last person they will tell will be their boss.

According to the Mental Health foudation "67% of employees feel scared, embarrassed or unable to talk about mental health concerns with their employer. To break this taboo and create an open and caring culture it’s important that those in higher positions get the board on their side and take a top down approach. If they are speaking out on the issue, perhaps even drawing on their own experience, then this attitude will trickle down to managers and then staff."

There is a great booklet available free as a download from them at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work

MIND have some useful information and facts: 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London in his report last year on London Mental Health looked into how much poor mental health is costing our city. "I was shocked to see that it costs London’s businesses and industry a staggering £10.4 billion each year. Too often, a lack of support and understanding by employers means we do not recognise mental health difficulties in the workplace. This leads to a reduced pool of employees, more time off through sickness and lower productivity.

However, there is also good news as many of our leaders in industry are taking the bull by the horns and tackling the subject head-on. Here is what some of them are saying and doing:

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind:

"Over the past five years, the issue of workplace mental health has been continually rising up the agenda, not only for HR professionals and line managers, but for senior leadership within organisations. In workplaces across London, a quiet revolution is taking place around the water cooler as more and more people talk openly about mental health. We are now at a tipping point, with increasing acknowledgement from employers that more needs to be done to help people stay well at work, tackle the root causes of work-related ill health and to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem. As this collection shows, a growing number of senior leaders now recognise that organisations are only as strong as their people – they depend on having a healthy and productive workforce and they know that when employees feel their work is meaningful and they are valued and supported, they tend to have higher wellbeing levels, be more committed to the organisation’s goals and perform better. Research shows that FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by an average of 10 per cent.

1. Good mental health underpins this. By fostering a mentally healthy workplace culture and putting in place the right support, businesses, small and large, find that they are able to achieve peak performance.

The way we are all working is changing. In- demand skills such as teamwork, collaboration, joint problem solving, flexible working and staff development all require employees who are mentally healthy, resilient, motivated and focussed. As indicated in Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, Millennials (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) have shown very different preferences to their predecessors when it comes to workplace culture, wellbeing and self-development. Millennials prioritise a healthy work-life balance and a positive workplace, and are more likely to turn their back on the business that trained them if these needs are not met.

2. Managers need to be equipped to support staff to manage the increasing blurring between work and life. This is especially true for the London workforce.

By fostering a mentally healthy workplace culture and putting in place the right support, businesses, small and large, find that they are able to achieve peak performance.

Throughout the course of Mind’s awareness raising work on this issue, we have seen an evolution in how employers view workplace wellbeing, with the focus shifting from the reactive management of sickness absence to a more proactive effort around employee engagement and preventative initiatives. This shift towards an upstream approach has given employers the impetus to start looking at the mental health of their staff from a different perspective, and has led to a rapid increase in the number of employers commissioning our training.

A good example of this momentum has been the success of the Time to Change Organisational Pledge. Time to Change, led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. The pledge has offered organisations an opportunity to make a public statement of aspiration to tackle mental health stigma in their workplace, and develop an action plan detailing tangible activities to bring this about."

If you are in a position to help change things in your workplace, then there is plenty of literature and support out there to help you. Every voice that speaks will add to positively affecting the change, and never thing you aren't making a difference. We all deserve to be treated as valuable human beings, and each of us will, at some point in or lives undergo stresses and diificulyt times. They should not be stigmatised.

If you are suffering from mental health issues find someone you can trust to talk to or seek th esuuprt of a professional such as a counsellor, trusted doctor, or therapeutic coach.

mental health in the workplace. change and chance

How to make changes happen.

Do you ever feel that you are going over the same old ground? Or wake up and drag yourself out of bed to repeat the same old patterns?
Many of us do and neuro-science and quantum physics together help to shed some very interesting light on why this happens- and more importantly, what we can do about it.

We are energetic beings and have magnetic and electromagnetic fields within and around us. This is OUR energy. Quantum phsyics informs us that when we place our attention on something there is a change from a wave form to a particle. The wave is part of the unified field of all possibilities, whereas when it switches to a particle it is no longer connected to all possibilities and becomes material matter. So at the very moment we place our thoughts on something it changes it from being linked to all possibilities to becoming a material limited "thing".

Hold that thought and let's look at stress for a moment.
Short term stress (such as running away from immediate danger) is normal and we have physiological systems in place to deal with them by pumping out stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. When we focus on our problems and difficulties (let's say we don't like our job for example) and we spend ages feeling resentful, miserable, and hopeless about it, we are using up a lot of our energy as it is drawn towards the same difficult scenario. We place our bodies under continual stress and continually use up our energy focusing on it - we can become Addicted to the hormonal rush and emotions that we experience when we focus on these negative thoughts. We then re-create the thoughts of the same old negative scenario just to feel what we are used to feeling. What is happening in quantum terms is that we are reducing all the possibilities of (in this case) new work scenarios into particle (material) form and preventing new possibilities from coming in effortlessly. Our bodies are no longer in optimum states, bathed in wave form of energy, but solidified, if you like, in particle forms and they create particles of stress hormones that float around the body affecting the heart and brain functioning.

Neuro science shows that when people are busy having negative thoughts and emotions the two halves of the neo-cortex are not fully communicating with each other, and understanding and thought processes are limited, and also the heart is not functioning in a harmonous way. By placing negative attention on things we prevent other possibilites from happening. You are drawing on all your resources (energy) to keep this heavy material bodily system going. Stress and staganation is the result.
Whilst it is, of course, possible to still acheive your goals, it is very hard work as you are dealing with the world of matter, in which you have to physically work to get from A to B , rather than using the quantum and harmonious world of waves and infinite possibility. This world will bring the opportunities into you, as you are connected to them.

So what do we have to do to bring about the changes we want?
The world of wave particles unites all time and space and possibilities, and we "find" it in the Now moment.
Remember that wherever you focus/attention is (ie. your energy) that is where matter goes to- so to dip into the world of now-right this second, (not the past unhappy scenarios or the future imagined unhappy scenario), but Now, we need to take our attention off these things.
Take your mind off your body (with its aches and pains) , take your mind off people who you feel unpleasant thoughts about, take your mind off things (objects. places, phones computers, etc) and take your mind off time. You end up in a world of nobody, nothing, nowhere, and no time. This is the space which dips into the quantum world of everything. In this space you are joined with everything and all possibilites. The best way to find this is through meditation and there are endless fantastic You Tube vidoes to help guide you through this. Wayne Dyer has some great ones.

In the silence and stillness of this mind state you can access new information, new states of being and even new states of health. All futures meet in this point. As we access this state, scans show how the neocortex fires up and the heart suddenly changes its rhythm. People report feeling intense and overwhelming love and a sense of well-being. Their thinking changes and they can become party to new ideas. The body's magnetic field changes.

So to sum up: be aware of what you spend your time and energy thinking about, as you are putting whatever that is into the material world. Think on the wonderful aspects of life you want- feel the positive emotions, as these are strongly charged, and you are then working on turning these thought forms and concepts into the material world too.
Meditate regulary to keep yourself in touch with the quantum wave field of limitless possibilities, and your energetic field (and therefore body and mind) healthy.

I am only regurgitating what some of our current great doctors and scientists have already spoken about with far greater clarity, Dr Jo Dipsenza, amounst others, has spent years experimenting on the how the mind, body and people's whole lives change when they change their thinking and mental processes, through meditiation and other methods, to access different states of being. If you look up some of his videos this may all make much better sense to you. There are many scientists who have found the same results, and in truth, our wise ones have been aware of this knowledge for thousands of year. But its nice to have it re-affirmed and explained in scientific terms too.

mental health in the workplace. focus

To do, or not to do? That is the question.

The world seems to get busier and faster day by day, and for many of us it also seems that our "To Do" list gets longer rather than shorter. This is especially the case with the increasing number of ways in which we can reach each other, get and share information, and market ourselves via on-line media. Some people take to this like a duck to water, whilst others find it hard work trying to get to grips with the latest media platform.

A question I get asked regularly is, "should I use Twitter/Instagram/ LinkedIn, etc. etc. when I am already frayed at the edges trying to keep up with my daily tasks? I don't know which one works best, or even if it is worth my time doing any of them- I get such conflicting advice and information."

This is a very useful and important question: Where should you be putting your time and energy? Confusion and indecision is time and energy-consuming and keeps us stuck in the same place. Taking the time out to contemplate the situation with a clear and open mind is the first step to finding the way that will work for your own particular set of circumstances and goals. You aren't trying to fulfill someone else's goals and ideas, you want to attain your own. If you don't know specifically what you want to achieve, it's very difficult to know the best way of going about it. If you take the time to explore precisely what you want, e.g.. "for people to know how useful my products could be for them", or "to get 100 people to the special promotional event next week, where I can then ask them for their email addresses in return for inclusion into a prize draw," it is much easier to work out how to achieve that.

I am not a marketing specialist, and to be honest, probably never will be, and nor do I want to be; I am doing what I love which is interacting with people face-to face on a very personal level to help them find their own way to success. However, I still need to use these methods in tandem with personal interactions, and so also have to face these challenges. I know that finding a clear path and keeping my focus is imperative. When I loose my direction and get distracted onto other things I didn't set out to be doing, I loose the power, control and energy that I previously had, things slip further out of my grasp and, frustratingly, sit on my "to Do" list, rather than being crossed off as completed.
So, if you don't know the best strategy for your marketing, and it's not your strong point, it might be worth your time to find someone you trust who does know. Ask people if they could recommend anyone who could help you, and if that really fails, (which is very unlikely once you put your mind to it), then search out a few good unbiased articles and sit down with a realiable business -minded friend and thrash it out with them. Get a clear and solid strategy that feels right for you, (you need to believe in it, commit to it believe it is attainable and sustainable fo you), and keep your focus. You may well loose it from time to time, but that is okay and normal, don't beat yourself up about it, just re-commit and carry on. It takes steadfastness to become successful and that is something you can do.

mental health in the workplace. holding hands contact me

Carrying around a burden.

I don't know about you, but I find I can be "managing" life pretty well and then along comes some fly in the ointment, and it's my ointment it chooses to land in. Thinking I had surpasses this particular life challenge, I can get pretty annoyed and spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to work out why it has come to me, what should I do about it, did I handle some situation badly that has brought this about, ? etc. If I am not careful it can fill my immediate vision and use up my time and resources, leaving me less energised than I would like to be. After I have spent more than enough time wallowing in this particular predicament, I usually manage, by hook or by crook, to step out of it and view it from a very different angle- so regaining a better and more balanced view on my life. Thank goodness!
A story that I keep coming back to when I find myself caught up in something is an old Zen tale:

There were once two monks on a long walk across a barren landscape. They came to a river where, lo and behold, they met a lone woman stranded on the same side of the river that they were on and desperate to get across so she could get home. One of the monks picked her up, and carrying her on his shoulders, he waded through the river and gently put her down on the other side, and continued on his journey.
As one of their vows was to never touch a woman the other monk was speechless and wouldn't talk to his friend for several hours. After another couple of silent hours walking he, at last, couldn't help himself and blurted out "You are a monk, and forbidden to touch a woman. How come you carried her across the river like that?" To which the other monk replied "That is true; however, I set her down back there on the banks of the river, and yet you are still carrying her!"

This is one of my favourite lessons, and I imagine I shall be using it many, many more times!
Sure, when the unexpected or unpleasant happens, maybe we need to do a little analysis to understand what we are able, and sometimes need to make a decision about what the next steps should be, but if we devote too much of our energy to it we may be in danger of becoming swamped in it, and whilst stuck in the mire we miss out on other aspects of our life.

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