It won’t be news to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health, both here in the UK and around the world. It probably also won’t be news to hear that certain groups have suffered more than others – those who have worked at the sharp end of fighting the pandemic in healthcare, those who were already suffering from mental health issues and those who are socially and / or economically disadvantaged.
The theme of the 2021 World Mental Health Day (on the 10th October) is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”, highlighting unequal access to mental health care across the world. The World Health Organization is focusing it’s campaign on the importance of mental health care for all. That’s something we can get behind!
At Lime, we believe it’s important for everyone to have access to the best possible healthcare, including mental health! And we do our best to put our money where our mouth is with our range of simple, affordable top-ups to public health services, designed to make a difference just where it really matters.
We also know that prevention is better than cure, it’s important to start paying attention to mental health before it becomes a crisis. But how comfortable are we really talking about mental health? Our recent research would suggest we need to get a lot more comfortable, as quickly as possible. Over a quarter of UK employees feel as though they’re struggling to cope at work, but more than half (51%) believe they have to hide these feelings by putting on a brave face in front of their colleagues. We’ve called this phenomenon “pleasanteeism” and it has the potential to be incredibly damaging.
So, what can we do about it?
As individuals it’s important to acknowledge that our mental health may not always be as robust as we think it will. It is worth taking the time to invest in healthy habits, like mindfulness or meditation as well as opening up to family, friends or colleagues about how we’re feeling. We’ve just published a mini-library of helpful articles and exercises that might help – from how to better manage stress to breathing exercise, please explore, it’s totally free to access.
As friends, colleagues and employers we can consciously be aware of how others are feeling and create the space to have more informal conversations that facilitate an open and honest dialogue around mental health. We’ve got some great expert tips for employers in particular in our report here.
And of course, we have created Mind-Matters, with the idea of providing mental health support to all (or at least as many as possible), combining ongoing mental health assessment and emotional support with advice on practical matters.
We wish you well this World Mental Health Day. Perhaps it’s a good day to step back, take stock of our own mental health reserves and think about how we can all make mental health an important part of the conversation.