1. Mental health is important to everyone in the workplace . Page 04 2. What can you do to promote your mental health? . Page 05 4. Supporting colleagues with mental health problems . Page 08 5. Steps your workplace can take for better mental health . Page 10 Published by:BKK Bundesverband / ENWHP SecretariatKronprinzenstraße 645128 Essen Authors: Lee Knifton, Verona Watson (Mental Health Foundation), Heleen den Besten, Rob Gründemann, Anja Dijkman (TNO) Editor: Dr. Reinhold Sochert (ENWHP Secretariat)Graphic Design: www.berliner-botschaft.dePrint: Woeste GmbHStatus: 2009 Disclaimer This guide does not supersede any national employment guidance. Therefore no recommendations constitute a warranty, representation or undertaking ETC laws and guidance. The network and its organisational partners will try and ensure the adequacy of its recommendations and reviews but this does not constitute any legal advice and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be suffered, whether directly or indirectly, as a result.
1. Mental health is important to everyone in 2. What can you do to promote your mental As an employee you have the right to expect your Mental ill health? in the workplace. This can be informal such as employer and managers to create the conditions The term ‘mental ill health' covers a wide range of Talking about your feelings can help you to maintain having breaks and lunches together. You can also for mentally healthy workplaces. But you are also problems which affect someone's ability to get on good mental health. It can also help you to cope help to create a positive workplace by organising or responsible for your own mental health by taking with their daily life. Mental health problems can af- when you are feeling worried. Speaking to col- participating in social groups or activities. Be crea- care of yourself and your colleagues. The European fect anyone, of any age and background, as well as leagues about your feelings, or sharing a problem, tive and think of activities that everyone can join Network for Workplace Health Promotion (ENWHP) having an impact on the people around them such is not a weakness. It is part of maintaining positive in. There will be additional benefits if the activities is working with organizations across Europe to de- as their family, friends or carers. Most people can mental health and taking control of your wellbeing. involve physical activity, or learning a new skill or velop a mental health promotion campaign in work- and do recover. On average one in four people will Being heard can make you feel supported and con- places called work. in tune with life. move europe. experience some kind of mental health problem nected or less isolated. This does not need to be a over the course of a year. However, of these, only formal process but part of everyday conversations. Zero tolerance a relatively small number will be diagnosed with a If you have a problem at work or feel distressed, Significant workplace distress is linked to bullying serious and enduring mental illness. Common men- you need to let someone know about it. Or you or misuse of power. Bullying can be overt such as · promote positive mental health in the workplace tal disorders usually consist of experiences such as may have problems that are not to do with your physical or verbal aggression or intimidation. It can · understand and prevent issues that cause stress depression and anxiety, more serious illnesses are work, but are affecting how you cope at work. It also be subtle such as making fun of people, exclud- schizophrenia or personality disorders. With sup- may seem hard to talk about how you are feeling, ing people from opportunities or promotion unrea- · support employees who develop mental health port, most people recover from their mental health but talking about something that is upsetting you sonably, or undermining them. Anyone can bully or problems, so it is important to overcome the stig- be bullied and it can be a difficult issue to establish. · develop effective policies to reintegrate and ma associated with mental health problems in the However, employees that are particularly vulner- employ people who have experienced mental workplace.
· sort through the problem, or see it in a new way able are those who may experience disadvantage · ease built-up tension and gain new insight into a due to gender, low income/poverty, sexuality, race, work situation that is causing the problem ethnicity, age, and employees experiencing men- · find out that you are not alone, and that other tal health problems. In workplaces employees who The World Health Organization defines positive have temporary contracts or low job security are mental health as “a state of well-being in which · with the help of a colleague, identify options or also vulnerable. As an employee you can ensure every individual realizes his or her own potential, that you do not go along with bullying in any form. can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work Support rather than ignore people if they have been productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a Sharing your feelings may encourage colleagues bullied and work with colleagues to ensure that bul- contribution to her or his community. Employees to do the same. It is important to make the time lying policies are established and upheld.
with good mental health will perform better in their to listen to others, to be supportive and respectful. work.” So it is about the way you think, feel, and Practise your skills of talking and listening – both as Look out for your physical health behave. Many people don't feel comfortable talking a way of connecting to others and as a way of shar- about their feelings, but it is healthy to understand Improving your physical health can promote posi- and share with others how you are feeling. There tive mental health. The first thing you can do is are also steps you can take to promote positive ‘keep active' at work. Regular daily exercise can Having supportive friends, family and community boost your confidence and self esteem, help you to networks help us to deal with life and reduce our sleep and function better. Look at your working day sense of isolation. They provide emotional support, and see where you can fit in short bouts of activity.
fun and alternative perspectives. Social networks promote positive mental health and help to prevent You could:mental ill health. Yet we often forget that we spend a large part of our lives with our ‘workplace com- · walk for part or all of your journey to work munity'. So wherever possible ‘make connections' · cycle to work 2 | What can you do to promote your mental health? 2. What are the effects and costs of the · abandon the lift or escalators – take the stairs It is important to work. in tune with life. And that Physical symptoms might include: means controlling stress at work. Stress is: · make time for some activity before or after work – why not get together with colleagues to join a “The adverse reaction people have to excessive · indigestion and nausea pressures or other types of demand placed on · headachesthem.” (Source: Health and Safety Executive UK) There are also links between diet and mental health. Eating a generally healthy, balanced diet can Stress is not an illness but if it becomes excessive improve general mood and concentration levels and and/or prolonged, mental and physical illness may help protect against feelings of anxiety and depres- develop. Work is generally good for people if it is Emotionally you are likely to: sion. Missing meals at work, eating on the run, and well designed, but it can also be a great source of relying upon sugary snacks or high-caffeine drinks pressure. Pressure can be positive and a motivating · get irritable or angry can create stress. So try and ensure that you: factor, it can help us achieve our goals and perform · be anxiousbetter. Stress is a natural reaction when this pres- sure becomes excessive. Anyone can suffer from · be hypersensitive, drained and listless · relax and help your digestion with gentle activity work-related stress, no matter what work they do.
If you think you are suffering from any mental Stress produces a range of signs and symptoms, health problem or any of the symptoms identified We often drink alcohol to change our mood or to the following is not an exhaustive list of the symp- in the table above, it may be advisable to speak to deal with fear or loneliness. However, too much al- toms of stress but if you feel that your attitudes a doctor or GP. It is also a good idea to talk to your cohol damages the body and leads to mental health or behaviour is changing due to a situation at work line manager, Human Resources department or or home, these may indicate stress and a need to Occupational Health expert. It is important to deal seek further advice from your GP: with mental health problems early and to take ac-tion. Review your lifestyle to see if you can identify any contributing factors. This may be due to work-load issues such as doing several jobs at once, or taking work home with you. However, check our positive mental health section for ideas that you · avoid friends and family· have sexual problems · be more indecisive· find it hard to concentrate· suffer loss of memory· feelings of inadequacy· low self esteem Supporting colleagues with mental health problems | 4 4. Supporting colleagues with mental health Even when you take steps to promote positive participate and remain involved in everyday social mental health and to manage stress, some people activities. Keep in touch with people if they have a will still go on to develop mental health problems. period of absence.
Mental health problems are common and can be experienced by anyone. For example, every year, Become informed 10% of people in the workforce will experience There are a range of courses and workshops about depression. There are different forms of depres- mental health that can help you to learn more. And sion and it is different from feeling down or sad. there are also many local and confidential helplines, The person may experience persistent feelings of advice and support services, including (Source: tiredness, negativity, anxiety, helplessness, worth- Think Fit! Think Well! A simple guide to mental lessness, and difficulty concentrating or function- wellbeing for employees, British Heart Foundation): ing well at work. Sometimes there is a direct cause for a mental health problem, such as a life event, relationship issues, worries about finances or un- employment. A cause can also be problems within Helpline: +44 (0)8456 341414 the workplace, like too high workload, a shortage support or a conflict with colleagues or manager. Sometimes there is no clear reason. However, with Depression Alliance Seek support earlyDeciding when you need help can be difficult. Eve- International Stress Management Association UK ryone feels stressed, depressed or anxious from +44 (0)7000 780430 time to time, but if the feelings continue for some (let's say about two weeks), prevent you from eating, sleeping or working, or interfere with the Mental Health Foundationquality of your relationships, or if you want to harm +44 (0)20 7803 1101 yourself, then that is the time to ask for help. In, seek help from health services or your employer early. Problems with workload, support, MINDor relationships with colleagues can worsen mental Information line: +44 (0)845 766 0163health and your employer has a duty to intervene. may be able to review your work commit-ments or specific issues, but they can only do this No Panicif you let them know. Helpline: +44 (0) You can be a supportive colleague by listening to OCD Action (Obsessive Compulsive Disorders)someone if they are experiencing a mental health Helpline: +44 (0)845 390 6232 problem, It is particularly important to ensure that someone is experiencing a mental health problem that they are given every opportunity to Steps your workplace can take for better mental health | 5 5. Steps your workplace can take for better · Ask about the support the organisation may pro- vide, for example, occupational health service, counselling, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), brief therapies, or health checks.
· Consult with your line manager, works council, health and safety services, or human resource department about ‘reasonable adjustments' How you think and feel at work wil depend on example where you sit, or what to display around such as: working shorter working hours, hav- having an environment that promotes and supports ing time away from work to attend counselling your mental wel being and reduces stress.
· a better work-life balance. That is about having or other treatment, having more supervision at some control over when, where and how you work, changing the role you perform, working work, so that you are able to enjoy quality of life. from home for a time, a phased return to work Some of the most important causes of stress at work If you feel that the balance between your work are time pressures, work overload and understaff- and the rest of your life is causing you difficul- ing, al lead to too many demands being made. With ties, find out what adjustments may be possible.
your col eagues, works council, occupational health and safety service or line manager think about: Job rolesYour roles and responsibilities at work need to be · The amount and complexity of your work. Can clearly defined.
you cope with? Do you have the right equipment and enough time to do the job? · Make sure you have a clear and up-to-date job de- · Realistic targets. Are your individual and depart- scription that accurately describes what you do.
mental targets realistic and achievable? Ask for · If you report to more than one line manager, be clear about the demands being made on your · Your work environment. If there is a problem time so that expectations are reasonable.
with noise, ventilation, humidity or temperature, · Make sure you have the training and qualification discuss it and look for improvements.
· Your rewards. Become noticeable if you feel you are not being rewarded for the job you do suf- ficiently, not just through pay but also through Organisational change and insecure employment staff benefits, recognition and prospects for ca- status are both associated with an increase in mental health problems. Sometimes organisational change · Your working hours. You should make sure you may be unavoidable, but the way it is handled and take time off in lieu as soon as possible after the amount of accurate information provided and working extra hours. You should always take the opportunity to have some input into plans can your breaks and al your holiday entitlements.
make al the difference. If you don't feel you are be-ing given accurate and up-to-date information about changes, ask for it. Get together with col eagues to Having more control over the way you do your work, put together questions you have about the planned and influence over your workplace, can help reduce change and place them in team meetings, group stress levels. Work with your col eagues, works meetings and al -staff meetings.
council, occupational health and safety service or line manager to look at ways you can, where pos- Having a supportive environment and positive rela-tionships at work makes it easier for you to main- · more variety in the tasks you perform at work tain good mental wellbeing. It helps if you feel able to trust others and be open, and feel valued and able to acknowledge problems and ask for help. If · some control over your work environment – for you consider necessary: European Network for Workplace Health Promotion – ENWHP health at the workplace. The ENWHP Secretariat The European Network for Workplace Health Pro- and the co-ordination of the “Move Europe” cam- motion was founded in 1996 by a number of or- paign is based at the BKK Bundesverband in Es- ganisations in the field of public health and occu- pational safety and health. Today, members from
31 European countries share the common vision The campaign work. in tune with life. move europe
“Healthy Employees in Healthy Organisations”. In is co-funded by the European Commission under
ongoing cooperation the ENWHP has developed the Public Health Programme 2003 – 2008
uniform quality criteria and disseminates exam-
ples of good practice to elevate the importance of


Proceedings 030702.pdf

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