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Body present, Mind absent?

July 23, 2018


In speaking with some current employers to how to help them be more proactive with their mental health initiatives several areas were discussed


One such area was training advocates in the business with mental awareness to spot early signs of employees in distress and to teach them first line skills to handle the situation


The training is not to teach them to become a therapist but to enable them both to help themselves and their work colleagues to create a mentally healthy and happy work environment


Helping to build an open and supportive culture around mental health and significantly reduce the cost to the business of mental health related sick days


Mental Health ‘First Aider’ training


Another area discussed was ‘presenteeism’ – which very much ties in with spotting employees early on that may be suffering with a condition affecting their workplace performance - a major topic highlighted at the CIPD conference more than two years ago - unlike absenteeism, presenteeism isn’t always apparent: You know when someone doesn’t show up for work, but you often can’t tell when or how much a mental illness, work or external factors  or a medical condition is hindering someone’s performance.


Having encountered the situation myself in helping employees as part of my support programs; outwardly they may look fine but people don’t see how they may be feeling.


Presenteeism isn’t about malingering, it is productivity loss through real mental or physical health problems. It highlights the serious consideration to proactive investment in this area that would more than pay for itself in productivity gains

One recent example was an employee I helped that had recently returned to work after being on sick leave. His work performance since his return was substantially below what was previously achieved. Most employees are conscientious and want to do a good job, as in this case, and return to work. It was external factors, mainly stress elements outside of the workplace that were continuing to affect his performance. He was in work and present but not ‘at work’ and fully engaged because of the mental stress factors (which were subsequently resolved with 1 to 1 consultation and online/ongoing support)


Empowerment of good mental health comes from awareness, understanding and application of the correct intervention


For those companies and individuals looking to introduce or strengthen their mental health initiatives simply be in contact


Kevin Garrington


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