Culture3 min read

Why you should care about mental health

Even if you don’t know it, it’s likely that someone close to you has experienced a mental health issue.

In any given year, 1 in 4 individuals will experience some form of mental illness.

Research shows that around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition right now.

The estimated cost to the global economy is $1 trillion per year in lost productivity (that includes sick days, staff turnover and presenteeism — when people are less productive at work due to mental health issues).

 

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Open Mind by @xavierlopex via GIPHY

 

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You might not know it if one of your team (or indeed one of your friends or family members) is struggling with their mental health.

This stuff is exceedingly difficult to talk about, and more than two-thirds of employees worry that if they spoke to HR or management about their mental health problems it could affect their job security.

That’s because mental illness carries such a huge stigma. It’s loaded with stereotypes and prejudice — so it’s no wonder that many people suffering don’t seek out the help they need.

 

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🎯 A focus on mental health builds trust and belonging

You set the tone for your team culture. By opening up a dialogue about mental health and showing you care, you’ll build a supportive culture where people feel like they can tell it like it is and bring their whole selves to work.

That’s powerful. You can build trust and psychological safety when people feel seen and accepted for who they are — and that trust is essential for a high performing team.

🎯 The cost of mental illness is huge and incalculable

As you’ve seen above, the economic costs of mental illness are clear and well-documented — but few people talk about the more personal cost.

Poor mental health can cause people to stall out, lose confidence in themselves, strain relationships with their loved ones, and even have shorter lifespan. It goes without saying that dealing with a mental illness massively impacts your quality of life.

🎯 Addressing issues early reduces risk

Issues that aren’t addressed early can spiral into more serious problems, or even a crisis.

But most people address issues too late — if they do so at all. In fact, more than half of mental illnesses go entirely untreated.

According to Dr. Joel Young, professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine, mental illness won’t go away on its own, and the longer it persists, the harder it is to treat.

🎯 You have a duty of care for your people

As a leader, you’re responsible for looking out for your teammates — and that includes their physical and emotional wellbeing.

You’re in a really unique position to spot changes in your people’s behaviour and habits, and yet you’re not so close that you might not spot a slow, gradual change.

In the next card you’ll see how your role is vital to your team’s mental health, and get a snapshot of all the tools you’ll get in this programme to proactively support it.

🗝 Your key takeaway

Mental illness is common and costly — but thanks to the major stigma, it’s hiding in plain sight. You should care about your team’s mental health because a focus on it builds trust and belonging, its cost is huge (on an economic and personal level), addressing it early mitigates risk, and you have a duty of care for your people.

 

Free access to Wellbeing Works content

At Hive Learning, we’re passionate about connecting people so they can grow and learn together. That’s why we’ve made some of the content from our Wellbeing Works programme available on the People Leaders Network — an online community for organisational leaders to share insights, challenges, and ideas, so we can collaborate on the best approaches to take in scenarios that have very little precedent. If you’d like to have a look, you can sign up here.

Wellbeing Works gives leaders straight-talking tools, tips and techniques to support mental health and create a culture of candour and trust that enhances employee wellbeing digitally and face-to-face. You can learn more about the programme and request a demo here.

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