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Mental health in the workplace: lifting the taboo

Every year 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. This could happen to a friend, family member or even ourselves.

Mental health problems are a lot more common than we think and they’re also particularly prominent in the workplace – with at least 1 in 6 employees currently experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression.

Whilst it is positive that mental health is slowly becoming part of workplace conversations, in many organisations it still unfortunately remains a taboo subject. For many there’s a stigma attached to talking openly about personal mental health issues, leaving those most in need feeling scared or confused about confronting the issue at work. When help isn’t available and a culture of silence prevails this can have a significant impact, with 1 in 5 calling in sick to avoid workplace stress and 14% even resigning. This can be very costly to employers too in lost productivity and recruitment.

Mental health is therefore something that must be addressed both in the workplace and in wider society.

At Bright Horizons, supporting working families and employers to be at their very best is a founding part of our mission. We are a people business and recognise that we have a huge responsibility for looking after the very young and the privilege of shaping the individuals that they can grow into.

Childcare is a demanding job and although we’re fortunate that our people see it as a career rather than ‘just a job’ it does mean that they have to be engaged 100% of the time. The wellbeing of our people is paramount and we must have a heightened awareness of our people’s mental health, wellbeing and resilience to ensure that they’re able to provide the best possible care – not only for the children in our care but for their colleagues and themselves.

This is one of the reasons why we are delighted to announce that we are sponsoring This Can Happen – a one-day conference for delegations from organisations across various sectors on how to recognise, address and support staff facing mental health issues in the workplace. Founded by Jonny Benjamin MBE, Neil Laybourn and Zoe Sinclair from Employees Matter, the event  is designed to empower delegates to return to their companies with new ideas to help support those with mental health issues and to provide them with the tools to disseminate what they have learnt.

Mental health issues can affect any one of us and we don’t all need to be experts to offer our support when it’s needed. Together, we can lift the taboo and shift workplace culture to one that is more accepting and supportive of mental health.

John Handley, HR Director, Bright Horizons

Press play to learn more about This Can Happen.

This Can Happen will take place on 23 November 2018 at the Intercontinental London, 02. Visit www.tchevemts.com to find out more.

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