Today is World Mental Health day and this year’s focus is on children and young people. There has been much in the media recently around the rise in reporting of incidence of mental health in our children and young people along with the lack of current resources to meet these demands. We have moved through the generations from millennials to generation X and now generation Z.
It is a step forward that our children and young people are more aware and open to discussing their mental health however, stats are concerning with half of all mental ill health beginning by the age of 14 and suicide being the second leading cause of death amongst 15-29 years old (WHO 2018).
The pressures of key milestones in lives; adolescence, exam pressures, university, starting work and the journey to living an independent life can all be viewed as key factors. The way our children interrelate in society is also very different with much more digital contact. Pressures are then exacerbated by issues such as cyber-crime, bullying, loneliness, isolation, body image, gaming addictions and alcohol /substance misuse.
Prevention is key to addressing mental ill health and it is imperative that this is engaged with during the formative years of childhood and adolescence. Supporting children and young people in teaching skills to navigate life and manage life stressors gives them tools to support and enhance their mental health and overall well-being. We all must take a role in this as parents, educators, employers, mentors / role models and as part of the wider community.
Being advocates for young people with regard to accessing health care is key – understanding where to go and what is best practice can be a minefield. The National Institute of HealthCare and Excellence (NICE) www.nice.org.uk provide guidance on what is the best treatment for a range of conditions in general and for children and young people. They provide good brief overviews for the public to help them understand what to expect and ask for from their local NHS services.
Supporting a child with mental ill health is stressful and distressing and can impact upon parents own mental health. Employers can support by encouraging employees to access their Employee Assistance Programme for advice and guidance on how to support their child along with any support they may need as individuals.
Early identification and intervention are important in addressing and supporting all mental health and if we wish to address the mental health of our future generations then we need to start doing this during childhood and adolescence. It is promising that the UK government now has this on its agenda, however I believe that what will make the difference to addressing this in a meaningful way is for all of us to take the time to support those around us.
I had the privilege of attending MadWorld UK yesterday which was refreshing and encouraging to be in a venue with so many people committed to mental health. The key messages reinforced to me were around prevention, early identification and engagement – and this just brings home the benefits of investing in younger members of our community if we are going to work on reducing the incidence of mental ill health in the future.
The second reassuring consensus from Mad World was that employers need to acknowledge and address mental health in the workplace, supporting employees at preventative, early identification and treatment stages.
It is positive that we are taking great strides in addressing the stigma of mental health however we do still have a long way to go which includes cultural changes, language and training in practical tools to start talking more openly about mental health and be comfortable and confident in doing so.
Finally, whilst I fully support key calendar advents promoting Mental Health I’d like to end with a reminder that we all have mental health which we experience every day of our lives so a huge thank you to all those raising the profile on this day – but let’s keep this going.
How often do we ask ‘how are you?’ When we meet people we may never expect or factor in the time for someone to say well actually I am struggling at the moment, it’s been tough…
Take the time to talk to your children, family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours and ask ‘how are you’, and then.. ‘really – how are you?’…….
#end the stigma #this is me #world mental health day # madworld # mental health we’re in this together
Jane Muston, Clinical Director, Mental Health
RN(MH) PGDip , PGcap BSC(Hons), BABCP accredited Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor
The Vita Health Group has today commended the unveiling of the high profile Project 84 campaign.
ITV announced this week that it had collaborated with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to encourage conversation around male suicide and the mental health issues which can result in the most tragic of consequences.
The campaign features 84 lifelike figures in installation on the roof of the ITV This Morning studios – representative of the 84 men who will take their own life each week in the UK.
Jane Muston, Clinical Director at Vita Health Group said: “This is an incredibly striking campaign which is clearly going to get people talking about an area which is so often forgotten about or swept under the carpet.
“As employee health specialists here at Vita Health Group, we know that mental health issues among men are on the rise, and that, where things like depression or anxiety, or chronic physical health, is left without an outlet for discussion or support, it can lead to some very dark thoughts
“This is why we work so closely with company’s to help them recognise where employees are suffering, and provide them with ways in which they can signpost their staff or provide the appropriate way for them to recover.”
RehabWorks, which is part of the Vita Health Group, played a direct role in reporting to the government on the progress and success of the Fit For Work initiative. It also has many staff on advisory boards helping to raise the awareness of, and approach to, issues such as mental health and suicide risk of men.
“Our focus is always to support people with mental health and other conditions to stay in work where possible, with full liaison with the employer, ” said Ms Muston.
“In very recent times we’ve welcomed the news in the employee health arena that a new and more flexible model for supporting those with mental health issues in particular, is to be fully explored.”
Mental Health and musculoskeletal issues are the two most significant reasons for absence in the workplace, according to Vita Health Group, the HSE and the CIPD.
The company has seen a growing need in recent years to be able to educate both employers and staff about what is available to them, and what likely ‘return to work’ programmes might be available for an employee.
Vita Health Group works with a broad spectrum of clients, which range in size and focus from small SMEs to large employers, such as John Lewis Partnership, in the Corporate sector, to NHS Trusts and large Public Sector bodies.
The company’s services cover everything from an Employee Assistance Program to much more extensive Wellbeing Programs, with associated care pathways to provide solutions for more complex Mental Health issues.
Each year, the company supports some 50,000 individuals in getting back to good health.
RehabWorks is delighted to announce that we have launched a new digital wellbeing platform with a focus on mental health.
Our new digital platform is part of our EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) and enables organisations to access the latest advice, best practice information and insights into both physical and emotional wellbeing.
The platform contains a combination of podcasts, videos and clinical articles, pointing to evidence-based advice and preventative recommendations.
Jane Muston, RehabWorks clinical director of mental health, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing this new platform to our customers, and providing another significant tool in enabling them to be proactive about health and wellbeing in the workplace.
“Manager education is so vital, as it means colleagues can be referred early. This tool plays an important part in that process, and ensures an evolving supply of truly relevant information for employees and those who are responsible for staff.”
She added: “There is, of course, a broad spectrum of how much any individual may be affected, but it is imperative we make it easier for employees to talk about how they are experiencing issues of poor mental health, and that we make it simpler for organisations to not only spot signs, but to signpost their colleagues to the right help.
We are supporting our customers with open dialogue, and greater awareness. This ensures businesses are likely to see less presenteeism, increased productivity, and more workplace satisfaction overall.”
From RehabWorks’ perspective, better support for both employers and staff must be the ultimate objective.
It’s been in recent days that the government has confirmed it is to scrap its Fit For Work scheme, and so we’re applauding the intention to instead explore a more flexible approach to ‘fit note’ usage throughout the UK.
As an award-winning company which leads on evidence-based occupational health solutions, RehabWorks played a direct role in reporting to the government on the progress and success of the Fit For Work initiative.
Clinical Director Mark Armour participated as a member of the Clinical advisory group.
He said: “The Fit for Work initiative was always very well intentioned, but it was held back for a few reasons, including the difficulty a national service has in understanding specific occupational issues and liaising effectively with employers about the return-to-work strategy for their members of staff.
“What we’ve seen in the confirmation this week is that there is now intent to extend the Fit Note certification powers to other healthcare professionals, having considered the way the previous approach has been working.
“We very much welcome this news and believe it will make a significant difference to the care received by staff, and experienced within companies as a whole, if the likes of physiotherapists and Psychological Therapists are also allowed to certify.”
Mental Health and musculoskeletal issues are the two most significant reasons for absence in the workplace, according to our data, and that attained by the HSE and the CIPD.
We’ve seen a growing need in recent years to be able to educate both employers and staff about what is available to them, and what likely ‘return to work’ programmes might be available for an employee.
Mr Armour added: “Our focus is always to support people with mental health and other conditions to stay in work where possible, with full liaison with the employer.
“We’ve welcomed recent news in the employee health arena that a new and more flexible model for supporting those with mental health issues in particular, is to be fully explored.
“While the news confirming the end to the Fit For Work initiative does ultimately mean an end to one particular concept, we very much feel that it is now paving the way for a strategy which focuses on wider certification potential and more awareness.
“However, one caveat to offer is that frontline NHS employees will need to be upskilled in order to plan appropriate programmes for return-to-work or remaining in post during health issues.”
As a company, we work with a broad spectrum of clients, which range in size and focus from small SMEs to large employers, such as John Lewis Partnership, in the Corporate sector, to NHS Trusts and large Public Sector bodies. Our services cover everything from an Employee Assistance Program to much more extensive Wellbeing Programs, with associated care pathways to provide solutions for more complex Mental Health issues.
Each year, we support some 50,000 individuals in getting back to good health.
In the week that marks Anti-Bullying Week throughout the UK, RehabWorks has launched a Bullying and Harassment workshop, following a popular and successful pilot scheme with one of the UK’s largest central government departments.
We have been delivering interactive and educational sessions on this area for several years, but have recently scaled up our workshop offering in recent months to allow for the growing demand from businesses UK-wide.
Our latest workshop has been rigorously developed with a network of skilled trainers, and pays particular attention to the growing ‘employer fears’ around cyber-bullying in the workplace, as well as more traditionally recognised harassment issues.
Tom Bivins, our Preventative Services Lead, and the practitioner who re-developed the original workshop format, said: “We’ve helped hundreds of employees and managers in recent years who have either encountered bullying in the workplace and want a pathway for resolving the problem, or those who feel they want to prevent a culture of bullying from ever developing.
“What we’ve seen is that in the last 12 months in particular, companies have really started to articulate their fears around this topic, and recognise the financial, legal and moral implications of simply doing nothing.
“The increased demand we’ve seen at RehabWorks led us to explore a new pilot, where we could bring our workshop right up to date for today’s workforce, with a lot of emphasis on proactive role-play, signposting, and detailing the true consequences for an employee’s wellbeing and overall mental health.”
An increase in publicity around mental health impact, and some high-profile legal cases around workplace negligence, may have given rise to more employers considering their strategy around harassment and bullying.
“There are a number of reasons which drive company owners and HR managers to want to develop a better commitment around these areas,” said Tom.
“Certainly, we believe that better mental health campaigning has been one such prompt for today’s firms. What we ensure our courses deliver, is that they grant employers a clear understanding between what is indeed bullying, as opposed to ‘firm management’.
“Making that distinction very often has people saying to us ‘I hadn’t realised how poor my behaviour had been’, or ‘I’m aware that I’ve actually managed that employee in a completely unacceptable or discriminatory way’.”
RehabWorks has delivered its training to companies of broadly differing sizes – from family run firms, to large corporates with international offices. This has enabled managers not only to recognise signs within their workplace, but to implement strategies and solutions which make a significant difference to employee retention and wellbeing.
“The feedback we’ve received from companies – across the board – has been exceptional,” commented Tom.
“Our course participants very quickly identify the positive benefits and are eager to change aspects of their workplace functions in order to ensure a healthier and happier environment for all employees. Ultimately, this not only helps individual wellbeing and retention, but it creates a huge cost saving – because of reduced sickness or re-hire costs – for the company itself.
“It really is a win-win for employers to explore the issue in this way, and we’re pleased to be facilitating such a valuable insight for businesses.”
For more information about RehabWorks’ new Bullying and Harassment Workshop, contact 0333 222 0710.