According to NHS digital 1 in 6 young people had a mental health issue in 2020 compared 1 in 10 (2017). Research from charity Mind in 2021 found that the mental health of those receiving benefits was poor. It’s a very real problem, it doesn’t discriminate and it’s on the rise.
As many of you know, Sunday 10 October was World Mental Health Day 2021. We wanted to start the week by saying a few words about mental health as these annual anniversaries are an important reminder for us to think about and reflect not just on our own but the mental health of others too. More importantly, every day should be about our mental health and we must ensure that we reach out to managers, friends, loved ones and professionals if we are struggling and need support.
Whether it’s feeling anxious about returning to the office, whether we’re concerned about the health of our family members, fearful about our job security or feeling burnt out at work, worried about our finances or preoccupied about food shortages or rising bills, all these things can take a toll on our mental health. “Even in the hybrid model, people need to organise their day to ensure switch off time and provide some structure to their working week,” as Professor Sir Cary Cooper told us.
Addressing mental health inequality
As our HR Director, Georgia Oatway, said in 2020, “You may have gone into lockdown with really good mental health but find that you’re now starting to struggle, finding it quite hard and not as engaged as you’d like”. And now that things are seemingly starting to get back to normal, the legacy of COVID will be with us for many years to come. This year’s theme ‘Mental health in an unequal world’ acknowledges that there are disparities in access to mental health care services globally but also differences according to demographics and individuals’ socio-economic situations.
It could be one of our own employees reading this, or you might be a candidate or a client of ours. Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you feel overwhelmed or not right, talk to someone. We applaud the many individuals, including celebrities, who have been open about their struggles in the media as well as the campaigning to help bring this topic to the forefront of the government and corporate agenda is much needed. But there is so much more to do. Actions are needed, not just awareness.
Now more than ever, we need to be resilient but that’s often easier said than done. So, monitor your mental health and check in on others, and be sure to cut yourself some slack. And if you need to, seek out professional help. It really is OK to not be OK.