When we think about the phrase ‘mental health’, we often think about mental health problems. We think of symptoms like low mood and conditions such as depression or anxiety.
In fact, everyone has mental health. You and your colleagues will have times when your mental health is good – and times when it is less good. Just like physical health.
Sometimes you’ll experience low mood, fear, anxiety or confusion. These feelings are part of everyday life and don’t necessarily mean you have a mental health problem.
Sometimes moods, thoughts, experiences or reactions to things may feel difficult for a long time and affect your life and how you want to live. This might be a mental health problem.
At any one time, one in six people will be experiencing a common mental health problem. It will be part of almost every workforce.
We’ve all heard of mental health diagnoses.
But having a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that your mental health is poor right now. You could have a diagnosis of a mental health condition but, at the moment, be able to manage it and function well at work and at home.
Equally, you might not have a particular diagnosis, but be finding things very difficult.
Everyone’s experience is different and can change at different times.
Lots of people find it easier to talk about stress than to talk about mental health. You probably hear people at work say, ‘I’m so stressed’ much more than you hear people say, ‘I’m feeling very low’ or ‘I’m feeling anxious’.
Research by Bupa reveals that 44% of adults currently feel stressed, with over a third of these (36%) stating they’ve felt stressed for more than six months, and over a quarter (28%) reporting that they’ve been stressed for more than a year.
Stress isn’t a mental health diagnosis. But stress is closely linked to mental health. It can cause mental health problems or make existing problems worse. Being stressed over a long period of time can affect your physical health as well.
As stress levels increase, performance tends to drop. It’s important to help employees manage their stress levels and ensure that they’re not becoming overwhelmed.
Stress is not a good thing, even in a work environment. Some people find it helpful to think about pressure as a positive force and stress as something that occurs when the pressure is too much and is affecting your life and your health.
Talk to Healthwise about managing Mental Health.