This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a week that aims to get people talking about their mental health and reduce the stigma that can stop people from reaching out for help.
1 in 4 people in the UK will experience issues with their mental health every year, with mental health problems becoming increasingly common in the workplace as a leading cause of sickness absence. 70 million workdays on average are lost each year in the UK due to mental health.
At Sutcliffe, we place huge importance on workplace mental health, ensuring all our employees feel comfortable to have open conversations about how they are feeling. Talking freely and openly with no stigma or judgment attached is imperative for us as a business, as now more than ever, we must wrap an arm around our colleagues and friends to come back stronger after the pandemic.
Sean Keyes, managing director, discusses the importance of mental health, particularly how to navigate improving mental health within a business environment.
The discussion of mental health has increasingly become one of the most talked-about topics due to the global outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. Moreover, in the UK alone, the proportion of adults who reported a clinically significant level of psychological distress increased from 20.7% in 2019 to 29.5% in April 2020, before returning to 21.4% in July 2020 and 21.5% in September 2020.
Sean said: “The last year has been one of the toughest years for many people in terms of mental health. Around the office, what we’re trying to do is keep morale high – whether they’re in the office or whether they’re at home – whatever the circumstance.”
In terms of the company’s values, Sean noted how he believes the motivations behind raising awareness for mental health should not be about driving productivity within the workplace, but instead about shifting the focus on the staff’s wellbeing.
“The reason for us,” added Sean, “isn’t about productivity within the organisation, it’s looking after people – that is our primary focus.”
To improve the overall mental health of staff working within Sutcliffe, Sean also highlights how the business has offered a helping hand.
He said: “People love people, and what we have done over the previous 12 months is to ensure we have regular online socials, regular team meetings, and regular contact. So in terms of keeping in contact with our clients or contractor, just keeping that contact is really important. It improves mental health but at a much basic level it improves your friendship bonds – which in itself is mental health.”