Employers urged to deal with mental illness

For one week each May, The Mental Health Foundation campaigns around a specific theme for Mental Health Awareness Week.  The theme for this year’s campaign is physical activity and exercise, highlighting the impact they have on mental health and wellbeing.

Dr Mike Smith, Clinical Director of Mental Health Services at AFG and a leading international expert in mental health, is urging employers to look after the physical and psychological health of their staff after the latest research revealed that one in six workers is experiencing depression, stress or anxiety.

The survey of over 2,000 people commissioned by mental health charity Mind found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34 per cent) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful. The total cost to employers of mental health problems among their staff is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year which is the equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK.

Dr Smith, who’s worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Governments in Asia and Africa is using Mental Health Awareness Week (13 – 17 May) to highlight the responsibility of employers to look after the wellbeing of their staff. He said:

“We are running a number of taster sessions around key mental health topics for our staff members. These workshops will provide practical tips, help and support on how staff members can look after their mental health effectively and maintain a positive level of wellbeing.

“The Government, mental health services and society as a whole all need to change their thinking of mental illness and wellbeing. Raising awareness of some of the issues will help towards ending discrimination and stigma related to mental health.

“AFG is celebrating 21 years of providing services built around each individual and designed to ensure that all people have choice. Moving forward it’s important to recognise how services and help may be structured with different skills and strategies to assist or support people to take ownership of their experiences and to work to become unstuck.”

More information and highlights of the week can be found by visiting our Facebook page, ‘AFG Support’. You can also follow us on Twitter @AFGSupport