Today is National Workplace Wellbeing Day and a leading mental health charity is urging people to make wellness a priority in the workplace. Caroline McGuigan, the founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive (SOS), says that many people are struggling to cope at work because of personal or professional difficulties, meaning a focus on workplace
Today is National Workplace Wellbeing Day and a leading mental health charity is urging people to make wellness a priority in the workplace.
Caroline McGuigan, the founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive (SOS), says that many people are struggling to cope at work because of personal or professional difficulties, meaning a focus on workplace wellbeing remains of huge importance.
“Things like family illness, bereavement, financial pressures and relationship problems can make it difficult to cope at work. Mental health has now become the most common cause of workplace absence so it’s a huge issue for both employees and employers.”
SOS recently received an Outstanding Contribution to Wellbeing award at part of IBEC’s inaugural Keepwell Awards. The national organisation, founded in 2003, is one of the leading mental health charities in Ireland. In addition to a range of online and community-based programmes, they are increasingly active in supporting employers when it comes to championing wellbeing in the workplace. To date, they have worked with companies such as Sky Ireland, Paypal, eBay, Linkedin, Bank of Ireland, Alexion, Momentum, HPRA and the Department of Agriculture and many more.
“We are in ongoing discussions with employers seeking to do more when it comes to staff wellbeing. While it’s great to see the momentum for change, we’re also keen to stress that the change required needs to be a culture shift. We can’t just look for quick-fixes when it comes to wellbeing. Having once off talks and workshops has a role but we encourage companies to go the distance and really look at wellbeing from a cultural perspective and ensure it becomes rooted into the heart of every aspect of the business. We’ve done a lot of work with companies such as Sky Ireland and Paypal who are already doing this and it’s clear that it becomes a win-win for everyone.”
Research from the UK based Institute of Directors shows that over 50% of employers have been approached by employees about mental health challenges but only 14 per cent of companies have a policy in place to deal with the problem. The study also revealed that one in five directors in large companies didn’t know whether they had a policy at all. The number of days taken off due to mental health problems has increased significantly year on year according to the UK Office for National Statistics. It states that anxiety, stress, and depression taken together are now the largest reason for workplace absence. It is widely thought that the figures for Ireland are similar.
“This Friday the team in SOS will be delivering workshops and also making sure to look after our own wellness with tips from our wellness jar, talking openly about mental health, and having a bit of an extra laugh as we prepare for the weekend. We encourage others to get on board and to join the movement for workplace wellbeing in whatever way they can.” says Caroline.