We need a cultural change that combines well-being and success – Alastair Stewart
In an interview, Carson tries to discuss seasonal blues with the late Robin Williams. It dates from the early 90s. With his incomparable humor, Williams moves on to his next gag. He was a comedy genius.
It’s hard to imagine the depression and anxiety that led to his suicide in 2014.
Next year will mark Season 3 of the pandemic show. At that time, mental health became as much of a talking point as COVID-19.
As the discussions on the restrictions are back on the table, how do you feel?
If your gut reaction to this question is to moan, raise your hands, and question the indomitable sap of modern media, then we have a problem. Or we have the same problem.
Vicious political language turns into violence. We have to change the way we …
What is fascinating is listening to colleagues from all walks of life in Scotland. Once, and not that long ago, there were stories and complaints about anyone citing their “sanity” as a problem. Sometimes it was ironic, sometimes not.
It is now reputational suicide to trivialize or set aside well-being. But it is not a simple choice to do something or nothing. This gray area is where the real battle lies.
From the start of the pandemic, three distinct stages of progress regarding supporting employees in their mental health emerged.
For some, mental health remains an extremely sensitive topic of conversation to discuss with staff or bosses. There may just be a hint that it’s okay, or it’s a âskiveâ.
What we could call the second step is arguably the worst offender. Well-being is just a checkbox exercise to be discussed rhetorically on Linkedin to signal your inclusiveness. We’ve all seen this type of post, but it’s social media propaganda that doesn’t make sense unless it results in a supportive environment.
COVID-19 has caused a dramatic wave of virtue signaling at all levels. It was rude and absolutely taboo last year not to applaud for the NHS. Months later, the public complained that maybe taxes should be raised to support health and social care costs.
What you might call the third step is ideal – a situation where discussing personal well-being and issues is a practical matter treated with the same concern, thoughtfulness, and adaptation as a caller. with the flu.
Support can be as simple as picking up the phone to see how someone is doing. It lacks a sense of spectacle. This environment is supported by a comfortable, direct and completely legitimate business discussion.
The Mental Health Foundation reports that people who work and have or have had mental health problems add almost Â£ 225bn a year to the economy, representing 12.1% of the UK’s total GDP. It pays off for the support staff.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned that work-related stress and mental health risks are emerging as a health and safety crisis for workplaces nationwide.
The executive also launched the new âWorking Mindsâ campaign, which examines issues relating to occupational health. The campaign “aims to help companies recognize the signs of work-related stress and make problem management routine.”
At the same time, numerous analyzes and studies confirm the effect of COVID-19, containment and restrictions on mental health. Depression and anxiety have increased around the world. Reports now have the advantage of being able to compare three years of accumulated evidence.
There are event studies that track changes in exercise levels, stress, sex drive, digital exclusion, addiction, and long-term side effects of isolation and working from home.
Children to students to workers and retirees have all confirmed changes in mental health. The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) published a mental health and well-being study confirming that one in three students in Scotland reported moderately severe or severe symptoms of depression.
In response, there is often a well-intentioned but excessive call for legislation. While the pandemic has made anything clear, changing circumstances call for government guidance underpinned by creative and flexible personal solutions.
This seems appropriate given the totally variable advice from UK governments – is the pandemic improving or are we returning to restrictions?
Like last Christmas, the situation changed overnight. Now the Scottish government is considering extending vaccine passports to reception venues.
Austria has become the first country in Western Europe to re-impose a full Covid lockdown. The Netherlands entered the first partial lockdown of the winter season in Western Europe a week ago.
According to outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany plans to follow suit amid a fourth “dramatic” wave that has hit the nation “head-on”.
Employee well-being is a practical necessity given the pendulum swing of COVID-19. The mention of mental health should be completely free from stigma and discrimination on moral and business grounds. We need a cultural change that ensures that well-being is as tangible as possible an indicator of success, productivity and ethical business practices.
We need to culturally remove the notion that mental health is intrinsically linked to resilience, and therefore mentioning the former makes you weaker. Worse yet, we need to reduce the sensationalism around mental health – as with physical health, there is a range of severity, varieties, issues, and solutions.
The pandemic has seen companies make significant progress, but there is still a long way to go. Those who view mental health as a practical business concern will see a better return.
Alastair Stewart is a public affairs consultant and freelance writer.