Not everyone will trust HR. Instead you need ‘staff champions’

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Health Assured team

20 September 2017

Have you ever been too sick to go to work, but been too embarrassed to tell your manager what is happening? This is the reality for many of the one-in-four people who suffer from mental health issues in Ireland. While the last decade has seen huge improvements in the public discourse around mental health, there continues to be a great deal of stigma attached to admitting that you are not coping.

This stigma is possibly most severe in the workplace, where factors such as long working hours, high pressure and temporary contracts can contribute to the development of mental health issues. For others, factors outside of work may cause mental health issues, but a stressful working environment can make it even harder to cope with them.

Dealing with these issues in the workplace can be a challenging task, however, it has become easier in recent years.

Today, many workplaces have Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), where employees with mental health issues can access counselling and other supports. More workplaces are becoming engaged with the mental health of their employees, and are beginning to understand that having healthy staff benefits everybody in an organisation.

We found that people were less likely to seek help for mental health issues at work

This change is in part due to the See Change Workplace programme, which was launched in 2015. See Change, Ireland’s National Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership, launched the programme to make working life easier for those suffering from mental health issues.

“When we started initially, we realised that there was a huge stigma around mental health,” says Dolores Kavanagh, co-ordinator of the programme.

“From doing our own research in 2010-2012, we found that stigma was most common in the workplace and people were less likely to seek help for mental health issues at work.”

  Excerpt from Irish Times, read the full article here.

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