Half of Irish Companies Consider Stress and Mental Health in the Workplace to be a High Priority

84% of companies do not have a wellness policy or wellness programme

Aware urges companies to prioritise mental health and wellness in the workplace in 2015

New research from Aware, the national organisation which provides support, education and information on depression and related conditions, shows that half of Irish businesses consider stress and mental health a priority in their workplace, yet 84% do not have a wellness policy or wellness programme in place.

With approx. 1.9 million people in employment in Ireland Aware is urging companies to prioritise mental health and wellness in the workplace in 2015. Aware runs a series of Wellness@Work education and training programmes for employees and managers which are now available nationwide.

The research from Aware also revealed that management in one in ten companies are currently concerned about the mental health of a work colleague. Concern about the mental health of colleagues is more prevalent among management of larger companies (one in seven) and those working in the public sector (one in six).

Furthermore, business owners say employees are far more likely to open up about work related (55%), financial (48%) or physical health issues (31%) than mental health with only 18% of companies being approached about a personal mental health issue.

Interestingly employees are marginally more likely to discuss their relationship issues (23%) with management than mental health issues (18%).

Commenting on the findings Dominic Layden, Aware CEO said: “Mental health is a key issue in the workplace and probably the majority of senior managers working in Ireland have at some point been concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague. There can be a real fear about how best to tackle the issue and Aware wants companies to understand that prioritising wellness at work has benefits for all.

“Our programmes help to create an open and supportive atmosphere which encourages colleagues to deal with issues before they spiral. They encourage people to ask for help, and provide confidence for managers who are tasked with managing a situation. All of this ultimately helps to tackle absenteeism, presenteeism and low morale which affect project delivery and productivity. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset and working to safeguard their wellbeing is an essential component in the company’s business success.”

Aware runs a series of Wellness@Work education and training programmes for employees and managers which are now available to companies nationwide. The short programme is designed to help employees understand the importance of looking after their mental health and developing coping skills to limit the impact of any challenges and concerns. A half-day option provides managers with the skills and strategies to best support employees who are dealing with life challenges or mental health issues.

The Wellness@Work programmes are supported by Lundbeck Ireland Ltd. As a specialist in psychiatry, Lundbeck Ireland is committed to education and raising awareness through the provision of information which will enhance the perception of people living with mental health issues. Lundbeck is continually engaging in initiatives to de-stigmatise mental illness in Ireland and hope that employers will assist in this task. Speaking about this Pat Campion, Country Manager for Lundbeck Ireland said: “Mental health can impact on many aspects of our lives including how we feel about ourselves and others, and how we are able to meet the demands of everyday life. Coping with stress at work is one very important aspect of ensuring positive mental health. We are delighted to be supporting Aware with the Wellness@Work programmes.”

The programmes have been developed under the guidance of Aware’s clinical team and are delivered by professional trainers who have received extensive training from Aware.

Visit the Wellness@Work page for more information

About the survey:

A survey of 350 Business Owners/Managers was conducted, structured to correctly reflect the known profile details of businesses in Ireland (company size, region and sector). Fieldwork was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes’ Dublin based telephone interviewing unit, from 25th November – 9th December 2014.

 

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