Mental Health Awareness Week: Coping with stress in the workplace

With the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 on stress and the ways employers and employees can improve their wellbeing in the workplace, the Society for Education and Training (SET) is opening up a selection of relevant member-only content to all during the week of 14-20 May. 

With anxiety one of the most common mental health issues – accounting for 23 per cent of NHS activity and costing the British economy £15 billion per year in lost productivity – it is more important than ever that organisations offer the right support to employees.

When you’re overwhelmed by stress it may lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse, reports the Mental Health Foundation. However, 47 per cent of staff are uncomfortable disclosing mental health issues to their employer and 25 per cent feel there is inadequate support for mental health in their workplace, according to an employee survey by CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

Recognising and responding to employees affected by mental health issues

In January 2017 Prime Minister Teresa May announced plans to increase the support and resources available to employees suffering with mental health issues in the workplace.

Addressing the need to promote a culture of change and encourage employers to recognise and respond to practitioners affected by mental health issues, SET has published the following articles, webchats and webinars:

  • Article: Support your health and wellbeing in the workplace - advice on how to get a better work-life balance and find the right support and advice when you need it.
  • Webchat: Mindfulness for learners and practitioners - how mindfulness can help practitioners deal with challenging workloads, stress, and manage behavioural issues in the classroom.
  • Webinar: Staff health and wellbeing at work - webinar looking at health and wellbeing in the workplace. Kathryn James defines what we mean by health and wellbeing, what it is about work that can sustain and promote positive health and wellbeing, and the triggers to poor health and wellbeing.

Focus on learners' mental health: 

  • Article: Supporting learners' mental health in further education and skills - with students increasingly struggling with mental illness, this article looks at how colleges and further education providers can raise awareness and address mental health difficulties.
  • Webinar: Supporting learners' with mental health needs - webinar aiming to support members who are working with learners and apprentices with mental health needs. It looks at how teachers and trainers can: support the declaration of mental health needs and enable learners to talk about their mental health; support learners with mental health needs in the classroom and in work placement; get support for themselves and develop their own professional practice in supporting learners with mental health needs.

Sharing your stories 

Each day this week, across our social media pages on Twitter and Facebook, SET will be talking about how we can bring the advice offered in the tips below into our daily lives, as well as sharing daily activities to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

We are keen to hear from anyone who wants share their own stories about how they deal, or struggle, with mental illness and stress in the workplace, so please do comment on our posts throughout the week. 

Advice from the Mental Health Foundation

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 by visiting the Mental Health Foundation website.

  • Talk about your feelings: Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
  • Take a break: Taking a break is good for us. A change of scene or a change of pace can be good for your mental health.
  • Eat well: What we eat may affect how we feel. A diet that is good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
  • Keep in touch: Strong family ties and friendships can help you deal with the stresses of life and maintain good mental health.
  • Stay active: Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep and look and feel better.
  • Drink sensibly: We often drink alcohol to change our mood, but drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
  • Do something you are good at: Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Do an activity you are good at to improve your mood.
  • Ask for help: None of us are superhuman. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
  • Care for others: Doing good for others does you good. Take time to care for others to improve both your and their mental health.
  • Accept who you are: We are all different. Accept and be proud of who you are rather than wishing you were more like someone else.

Order a green ribbon pin badge to raise awareness and support good mental health.

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