CEO insight: How European businesses can tackle mental health stigma
Mental health stigma continues to be a growing issue within the workplace. In fact, over two-fifths of employers have seen an increase in the number of staff reporting mental health problems and almost half of employees, 40 percent, will experience anxiety about their work, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD).
The majority of employees who have disclosed a mental health condition have said that they experienced discrimination in their employment as a result, and most agree that this can be a bigger burden than the illness itself.
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According to our sister publication Business Review Europe, there are ways that business owners can combat stigma in their workplace.
Implement modern measures
Nathaniel Smithies, founder and CEO of online counseling platform PlusGuidance, told Business Review Europe that employers in particular possess a considerable amount of power, and have a responsibility to make an impact.
“One in four [people] will experience a mental health problem and more than two-thirds of individuals with a mental condition say that stigma and the fear of discrimination has prevented them from doing things they want to do,” said Smithies. “Businesses must implement modern measures if they are to transform the stigma of mental illness present in workplaces.”
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Online counseling is one avenue of combating mental health stigma. Through online counseling, employees feel less pressured and anxious in the workplace and increase productivity.
“[PlusGuidance] provides a platform for people to receive immediate access to therapists, securely and discretely, which if implemented in business, could help employers to provide their staff with additional support.”
Healthy Working Wales (HWW) also offers the following tips for employers to consider having in place:
“It is estimated that 10.4 million working days are lost in the UK every year due to stress, and the average period of stress-related absence is 24 days,” reports HWW.
Employers who promote mental wellbeing in their company have reported seeing reduced stress and anxiety in their employees, increased productivity, lower rates of absenteeism, improvements in communications and a positive corporate image.
“Whilst mental health stigma is changing, it is not happening quickly enough. It’s clear that current methods are not as effective as hoped—but by providing a modern approach to mental health, we can reach more people and help support those in need,” concluded Smithies.
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