"To suggest that carving out some work life balance for one’s own health and wellbeing is the same as ‘quitting’ is a complete nonsense, and it’s time to stop using this stupid phrase. Let’s show some respect to hard working people.” “The phrase ‘quiet quitting’ is a dystopian phrase that needs to be halted. If people are working their contractual hours, that is ‘working’ not ‘quitting’ and to suggest otherwise is an insult to hard working people who have kept their companies and organisations afloat over these pandemic years."
EAPs alone cannot solve employee mental health problems
In a statement for World Mental Health Day today (10 October), Lou Campbell, employee counsellor, wellbeing coach and programmes director at Wellbeing Partners, claimed HR professionals have been forced to seek alternatives to “overstretched” employee assistance providers. Campbell said many workers were being “palmed off” as a result, and HR teams were being called upon to support “distraught employees”.
Why the cost of living crisis is a public health emergency
James Milford, head of behavioural sciences at Wellbeing Partners, said that we are “a society already pummeled and suffering”. He added: “The cost of living crisis hits at the fundamentals of our lives, the things that make us feel safe like food, warmth and shelter – things that seemed settled for many until recent months. The crisis – and its endless coverage in the media – is creating a huge amount of uncertainty as no one really knows how long this is going to go on for or just how much it will impact us financially." This is having a massive impact on people’s mental health. We have not evolved to handle ongoing uncertainty very well, and as such stress, depression and anxiety are rising. “This comes on the back of two-plus years of pandemic and global uncertainty that has already seen a massive rise in mental health issues
We Are Living in a Two-Tiered Society to Access Mental Health Services
‘It is a fact that most employers are picking up the burden of mental health care in the UK for their employees, and providing them with high-quality mental health support. But where is the outrage that everyone else is being left to fend for themselves without a functioning mental health service on the NHS?’ ‘Chronic underfunding by the government over the past decade, plus a complete absence of furore that roughly 12% of the British population needs mental health support but cannot even get onto the NHS waiting list for it is absolutely staggering. Why is there no coverage in the media of this disparity, this two-tiered mental health system in our society? How is the government getting away with this?’
Healthy conversation about mental health
Employers that cultivate psychologically safety and encourage staff to express their views and vulnerabilities can show care for existing employees whilst also making themselves more appealing in the fight for skills and talent. However, many organisations find themselves struggling to stay on the right side of the boundaries when it comes to conversations around employees’ mental health, with few getting it right.
Research Reveals Nearly Half of HR Managers Considered Quitting Due to Employees’ Mental Health Crisis
‘While HR has a duty of care to support employees suffering with their mental health, they often neglect to look after themselves. For people in supporting roles, it’s useful to know the appropriate boundaries when discussing mental health issues with colleagues to avoid becoming enmeshed or overly involved. Appropriate boundaries ensure that the conversation stays psychologically safe for the employee and avoids compassion fatigue for HR.’
Ensuring mental health conversations don’t overstep boundaries
Psychological safety is increasingly being spoken about in the context of work, particularly the need to enable a space where diversity of thought and open conversations are encouraged. This is key to an inclusive workplace environment, where the mental health and wellbeing of employees is more likely to be nurtured and valued. Employers that create a psychologically safe space for staff to express their views and vulnerabilities not only show care for existing employees, but improve their culture and competitive edge in the fight for skills and talent. However, many organisations find themselves walking a tightrope between psychological safety and mental health, with few getting it right.
Psychological Safety – Fall Behind the Cracks
Unquestionably, mental health is the cause célèbre, but this does not always incorporate the psychological safety of employees. Leaders are either wary of conversations around mental health or those that do broach the topic rarely set clear boundaries and can become enmeshed in mental health issues. This can lead to giving un qualified advice, engaging in rescuing or fixing behaviours, or even self-disclosing their own mental health issues and this can quickly descend into a psychologically unsafe situation for all parties.
Re-Igniting the spark: How to help people re-engage with their work
James Milford, head of behavioural sciences at Wellbeing Partners, who carried out the research, said: “A significant number of employees, more than a third, report feeling disengaged, exhausted, unfocused, low in motivation, and many are also anxious about social interaction. It’s something that employers simply cannot ignore as recruitment and retention becomes more challenging. “Businesses need to prioritise and put in place structures that cultivate better work-life balance for employees as a first step for re-engagement, and then encourage staff to take actions that enhance focus, improve mood, build confidence and create a more positive mindset around their work.”
UK draft Mental Health Bill criticised on improving workplace mental health
Lou Campbell, co-founder and director of employee mental health company Wellbeing Partners, said the new proposals will have little practical effect. Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "This new Mental Health Bill, providing a paltry £150 million for ambulances and crisis care will do absolutely nothing to relieve the growing mental health crisis in the UK, and will make no difference whatsoever to how business approach to mental health in the workplace. “For many years now, an unspoken two tier mental health system has emerged in the UK – one for those who are employed and who have efficient access to mental health support services provided by employee assistance providers (EAPs) and other mental health support services, and those who rely solely on the NHS or their ability to pay privately."