World Mental Health Day – An opportunity to recognise burnout

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but the 10th October is a day to show support for better mental health .

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2017 is workplace wellbeing and Scottish Drugs Forum encourages people who work in services to be aware of their own mental health, which can often be neglected.

Work-related stress can develop into debilitating ‘burnout’.  It is a serious problem, affecting performance and well-being, on the job and off, and also that of teams, services and the people who use services.

Scottish mental health charity See Me surveyed 1165 Scottish workers (of all professions) in April 2015 through a YouGov Poll.

The results highlighted a number of key issues:

  • 48% of people thought that someone with a mental health problem in work would be unlikely to disclose it for fear of losing their job
  • 55% of people felt that someone with a mental health problem would be unlikely to disclose for fear of being moved to another post or passed over for promotion
  • 45% of people thought that someone with a mental health problem would be unlikely to disclose it for fear of being discriminated against by colleagues (bullying, harassment, name calling, isolation)
  • 46% of people thought that someone in their work would be supported by management if they were unwell

Getting people to talk with confidence about their mental health problems is the first step towards them getting the support they need.

In the workplace, trust and openness for people experiencing mental health problems to feel confident enough to talk about what’s stressing them without the fear that they will be stigmatised and discriminated against.

SAMH suggest there are a few steps you could take to alleviate stress –

  1. Learn to recognise what you find stressful in the work environment
  2. Discuss your workload, or the organisation of your work, with your manager or supervisor. Get feedback on your work, and discuss any problems you are having. If you can’t resolve problems in this way, talk to the human resources.
  3. Find out how your goals fit in with the organisation’s overall aims and objectives.
  4. Make your physical work environment as comfortable to work in and appropriate to your needs as you can.
  5. Discuss the possibility of flexible working hours.
  6. Make use of the support already on offer.

SAMH have also produced a useful guide to stay well and maintain your mental health in the workplace, which can be found here.