Listening to MIND at the Cover Protection & Health Summit 2016

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It was great to attend the Cover summit yesterday and listen to the knowledgeable range of speakers and commentators discussing developments in the protection and health & wellness markets.

One speaker that really stood out was Emma Mamo from the mental health charity, Mind. Emma’s speech was as informative as it was interesting. The context was mental health in the workplace and a number of facts from their own proprietary research were revealed during her talk. Here’s a precise of her presentation…..

It’s estimated that by 2020 mental health will be the second most common cause of ill health worldwide. One in four of us experience a mental health issue at work and one in six of us are dealing with anxiety, depression or stress NOW.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, issues with management are the main cause of mental health issues in the workplace and, despite the problem’s prevalence, only 20% of employers have an active mental health policy in place. Interestingly, one in five employees has called in sick for work but 95% gave a different reason for being off than their employers.

Mind recommends a three pronged approach to tackling mental health in the workplace:

  • Promote well-being
  • Tackle work-related health issues
  • Support employees with mental health problems

Promote well-being

Mind recommends a series of action points to promote well-being in the workplace:

  • Put the subject of mental health on the corporate agenda
  • Make mental health the responsibility of a strong leader who is: positive in his/her attitude, communicates about the issue clearly and is generally supportive
  • Promote open dialogue and involve staff with the decision making
  • Ensure a system of two-way communications
  • Promote physical and social activity
  • Encourage peer support and buddy systems

Tackle work-related health issues

Here, a number of suggestions are put forward by Mind:

  • Undertake staff surveys to explore the issue
  • Ensure managers understand the subject and how it could be affecting their subordinates
  • Organise work efficiently and clearly communicate responsibilities and expectations
  • Consider the physical environment and improve where possible
  • Publicise what support is available within the business

Support employees with mental health problems

Mind recommends supporting employees with a tailored action plan that looks at:

  • What keeps staff members well
  • Workplace triggers and early warning signs
  • The impact of mental health on performance
  • Next steps for both the line manager and staff member

Workplace Wellbeing Index

Emma also gave details of Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index initiative which combines staff survey feedback with consultancy to help employers understand the situation within their own organisations and what they need to do about it.

Mind is a great charity doing sterling work to tackle one of the biggest problems in our society. Mental health is often taboo and hidden from public view but most people will know someone who is or has suffered from this condition so the work Mind is doing should be applauded and supported. In fact, Cover Magazine themselves are working with Mind as their 2016 charity partner, which is a really positive step in promoting the issue at an industry level.