Mental health support at work: are you getting any?

  Only 27% of women feel that their employer provides enough mental health support. Here’s why and how we need to work on workplace wellbeing…   Ever taken a day off due to anxiety or another mental health issue? Did you avoid discussing it with your boss? If your answer to both is yes, you’re certainly not alone, as research undertaken by Totaljobs, YouGov and mental health charity Mind reveals that 11% of female workers in the past year have been unable to work due a mental health issue, yet 44% of us feel that our employer would think negatively of us if we were to open up a conversation about a mental health problem.   The survey of 580 women demonstrates the stigma that still surrounds mental health, and the impact that it can have on our professional lives and careers.   The reasoning for why we suffer in silence is complex, and it’s notable that women are more uncomfortable discussing mental health issues at work than men (44% of women to 27% of men). 38% of women are embarrassed about talking about mental health, 25% feel that it would affect their chance of progression in the office, while 35% don’t feel that they’d get sufficient or meaningful support from their employer.   “Workplace wellbeing should be a priority for all organisation, no matter their size or sector "   Excerpt from Get the Gloss, read the full article here.   Assertiveness Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself and your rights without violating the rights of others. Acting assertively will allow you to feel more self-confident and will generally gain you the respect of your peers and friends. It can increase your chances for honest relationships, and help you to feel better about yourself and your self-control in everyday situations. This, in turn, can improve your decision-making ability and possibly your chances of getting what you really want from life.   Assertiveness or aggressive behaviour? Before we can look at techniques that can help you to become more assertive it is important to look at the differences between being assertive, aggressive and non-assertive.
  • Non-assertive behaviour: The act of withdrawing from a situation. This is a passive approach to a situation, allowing others to choose for you. Examples of non- assertive language would be – “Oh, it’s nothing”, “Oh, that’s all right; I didn’t want it anymore”, “why don’t you go ahead and do it; my ideas aren’t very good anyway”. Its not being able to say No
  • Aggressive behaviour: The act of over-reacting emotionally to a situation. Aggression can also take the form of a lie or a misrepresentation of the facts. This is a self-enhancing, egotistical approach to a situation and not allowing others to choose for themselves, but choosing for them. This develops hostility, defensiveness on the aggressor’s part and hurt, humiliation on the receiver’s part. Examples of aggressive language- “You are crazy!”, “Do it my way!
  • Assertive behaviour: The act of declaring that this is what I am, what I think and feel, and what I want. This is a non-egotistical, active, rather than passive, approach to a situation. The result is an open, direct self-expression of your thoughts and feelings, allowing others to choose for themselves, mutual satisfaction at achieving a desired goal. Examples of assertive language- “I think we should”, “That seems unfair to me”, “Can you help me with this?” , “I appreciate your help”.
  Specific techniques for assertiveness Body language can help you to improve your assertive behaviour:
  • Eye contact and facial expression: maintain direct eye contact; appear interested and alert, but not angry
  • Posture: stand or sit erect, possibly leaning forward slightly. Don’t fold arms across chest
  • Distance and contact: stand or sit at a normal conversational distance from the other
  • Gestures: use relaxed, conversational gestures
  • Voice: use a factual, not emotional tone of voice. Sound determined and full of conviction, but not overbearing
  • Timing: choose a time when both parties are relaxed. A neutral site is best. Listen as well as speaking
  • Be as specific and clear as possible about what you want, think, and feel. The following statements project this preciseness:
  • “I want to…”
  • “I don’t want you to…”
  • “Would you…?”
  • “I have a different opinion, I think that…”
  • “I have mixed reactions. I agree with these aspects for these reasons, but I am concerned about these aspects for these reasons.”

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