15 May 2023

Breaking the stigma during Mental Health Awareness Week

Anxious Electrician

In today’s fast-paced world, we often forget to take care of our mental health. However, mental health is as crucial as physical health; neglecting it can lead to severe consequences. It’s essential to understand that mental and physical health are interlinked, and one can’t flourish without the other.

Businesses can prioritise mental health by participating in events like Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual event aimed at raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The event will take place from May 15th to May 21st, 2023. Various mental health organisations and charities organise this event globally. The Mental Health Foundation manages Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and this year’s theme is ‘anxiety.’

How to identify anxiety symptoms in yourself and others.

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can affect anyone. Symptoms can be physical or psychological, such as sweating, shaking, worrying, and fear of the future. If left untreated, anxiety can be debilitating, but early intervention can prevent this.

Before we dive into practical ways to manage anxiety and how businesses can support employee mental health, let’s first examine the unique challenges that the construction sector faces in managing mental health.

Improving mental health in the Construction industry.

The construction industry is known for its demanding and challenging work environment, which can be physically and mentally taxing. Construction workers often face long working hours, tight deadlines, high-pressure situations, and physically demanding work.

These factors can contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Additionally, there is often a culture of silence and stigma about mental health in the industry, making it difficult for workers to speak up and seek help. The transient nature of the work also makes it challenging to establish support networks and continuity of care.

Developing strategies to manage anxiety is essential, especially in challenging work environments like the construction industry. Here are some strategies to help workers cope with anxiety.

Strategies to help you cope with anxiety.

Various treatments are available for managing anxiety, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and medication. Additionally, incorporating specific lifestyle changes can also aid in coping with and alleviating symptoms of anxiety, including:

  1. Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your body and reduce anxiety symptoms.
  2. Get regular exercise to reduce stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins.
  3. Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.
  4. Get enough sleep each night and create a relaxing bedtime routine to help you unwind.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can both contribute to feelings of anxiety.
  6. Challenge negative thoughts by reframing them in a more positive light.

Although strategies like these can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, it's important to remember that talking with others can also be beneficial in making sense of the world. You can reach out to friends, family, colleagues or a support group. If you are struggling to cope with anxiety, it is essential to seek medical advice.

Businesses can also support workers struggling with anxiety by implementing measures to reduce workplace stigma and by creating a supportive environment for employees.

Breaking workplace Stigma: supporting employees with anxiety.

Here are some ways businesses can support employees with anxiety:

  • Create a supportive workplace culture by providing mental health resources and training and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
  • Offer mental health benefits, such as counselling services, employee assistance programs, and access to mental health professionals.
  • Encourage breaks and self-care activities, such as mental health days and wellness programs.
  • Train managers and supervisors to identify and support employees with anxiety.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a valuable opportunity for your business to promote positive change.

Get support and advice for you and your team.

Mental health issues can affect your employees and lead to absence or presenteeism. Often, sympathetic, impartial support and advice may be all that’s needed.

ECIS Private Medical Insurance scheme members with Bupa can access the Employee Assistance Programme. It’s a free, confidential telephone service to support your employees with issues impacting their well-being and work performance. The service is available 24/7, and the helpline provides support from qualified experts.

How ECIS can help.

ECIS is a regulated insurance broker that provides Private Medical Insurance for construction industry businesses. If you’re thinking about Private Medical Insurance for your employees, speak to the ECIS team by calling 0330 221 0241 or emailing ecis@ecins.co.uk.

If you already have healthcare, ECIS can review your current arrangements and provide a quotation to compare against your existing policy.