One in four people suffer from mental health problems at any one time in the UK. There is a growing recognition of the stigma that is attached to mental health issues through campaigns like #timetochange and the Talking Heads charity, which has received prominent media coverage thanks to the support of Princes William, Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge. Often the focus is on the plight of individuals.
The role of employers in working with employeess to lessen stigma, reduce stress and created more engaged healthier workplaces all too often lags behind. On Wednesday, February 8, members of the CIPD and the public can hear about ‘Lived perspectives on mental health and wellbeing’ in a CIPD Manchester branch event in Oldham. The event at the BEST WESTERN Hotel Smokies Park, Oldham runs from 18:00 to 20:00.
The purpose of the evening is to address some of the stigma and issues associated with mental health head on, both in the workplace and from individuals with lived experience of mental health conditions. Talking about mental health is an important step for individuals and employers to take, attending this session provides added resources and strategies that help with the next steps.
Firstly, my close friend Katerini Edgington-Spathis (pictured below) will talk about her experience of living with bipolar disorder. Kat and I both have bipolar disorder. We first met through Bipolar UK’s Manchester Self Help Group. An accomplished public speaker with a burgeoning reputation as a passionate advocate for breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness, Kat told me:
“As Phil said, one in four people live with a mental illness. That’s a fact. And I am that one in four.
It is a popular misconception that people with a mental illness can’t work. I am not one of them.
According to Google 77% of people who work suffer from some form of mental health issue at some point in their lives and on February 8th, through sharing with you my own story of living with bipolar disorder, I hope to show you that when we take control, we can live and work well with a mental illness.”
Chris Delaney, the second of three members of the panel, is a qualified NLP life coach, hypnotherapist and career advisor. He will offer his insight in how to overcome low self esteem and anxiety.
As the third speaker on the panel it is my intention to talk about mental health in the workplace, focussing on some of the steps that employers can take to make life easier for employees with a recognised mental health condition. Underpinning the things I am going to talk about is a need for a culture of openness and understanding, which is founded on trust.
(1) Wellness Action Plans (WAPS) and Advance Statements
(2) Examples of different warning signs
(3) Managing anxiety in the workplace
(4) The issue of disclosure.
To join Kat, Chris and I at the event click on the live above or here
Thank you for reading. Hope to see you in Oldham on February 8!