Mental Health Awareness Week – By Lauren Bailey (HR Manager)
Mental Health Awareness Week is celebrated between 9 to 15 May 2022. This year the theme is ‘loneliness’ and the campaign aims to raise awareness of how loneliness can affect your mental health and vice versa. The awareness week encourages you to build meaningful connections with your friends, family, colleagues, and communities to help combat loneliness.
Loneliness and our mental health
Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked.
Social connections with family, friends and communities are important for positive mental health and help us to receive support from others when we are in need. Positive social connections and relationships have been linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression and lower rates of mental health problems . Loneliness and being disconnected socially to others around us can also be a product of mental health issues, such as depression and social anxiety.
Experiencing poor mental health or being diagnosed with a mental health condition may also lead you to feel lonely. You may find it difficult to speak to others about your problems because some people have misconceptions about certain mental health problems.
During the pandemic, many of us may have experienced loneliness and isolation, by being unable to see family and friends, and connect with others in the community. With restrictions having eased, and many of us returning to our normal routines our social connections have been restored, its important still to check in on others around you to see how they are feeling. You can still feel lonely whilst having lots of social contact and friends, and other mental health issues are often invisible.
Our work environments can also impact our feelings of loneliness. Working alone for long periods of time from home, or as a surveyor on projects alone may begin to impact your wellbeing. You need to make sure you build and maintain meaningful connections with your colleagues by visiting your office, asking to work on projects with others or using online platforms to connect.
What we are doing to improve our workplace mental health support
We recognise that mental health is just like our physical health, and we need to support people in taking care of their mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Over the past year, we have been focusing on improving our workplace mental health support for our people at Survey Solutions through the following:
- Raising more awareness about mental health & wellbeing through our internal communications – this will help people gain more knowledge about how to take care of their mental heath and wellbeing, and help people feel more comfortable opening up to others about how they are feeling.
- Creating support groups through our office representatives – our staff can raise issues and talk to an office representative which helps them feel supported and listened to at work
- Employee Assistance Programme – we have a 24/7 confidential support line available to all staff and their families, where they can gain professional help for their mental health, financial and physical wellbeing.
- Counselling Sessions – our people are supported to have access to counselling sessions if they require it.
- Access to mental health resources – we have a health and wellbeing app where people can access useful resources, wellbeing tools and webinars to help manage their wellbeing.
- Mental Health First Aider – I have recently become our company Mental Health First Aider and can effectively support people experiencing mental distress and provide information on how to access professional help.
- Events & challenges – we run events and challenges throughout the year where people can connect with their colleagues and meet new people around the business.
- Company sick pay – we offer company sick pay which removes the financial worry should you need some time off to deal with your mental health.
For further information and support about mental health awareness week, visit their website.