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Is psychological health as important as physical?

Bosses should be sent on mental health courses to stop employees becoming stressed and depressed, claims major study as expert reveals tips to make you happier at work

  • Employees reported 18% less sick days if their manager went on the course
  • Hectic workloads can often lead to poor mental health - resulting in sick days
  • The world-first University of New South Wales research is dubbed 'promising'

Persuading your boss to go on a mental health awareness course could stop you from becoming depressed and stressed at work - and lead to a promotion. A landmark study found employees reported 18 per cent less sick days caused by poor mental health if their manager went on a four-hour training programme. Hectic workloads can often lead to poor mental health, which result in sick days that can frustrate bosses and hold employees back from that pay rise. But managers become 'supportive' and more aware of their stress if they go on the programme, a trial published in the prestigious The Lancet Psychiatry suggests. This leads to employees feeling less pressure on their shoulders, allowing them to flourish in their role and avoid being gripped by depression.

The world-first University of New South Wales research, based on 128 managers responsible for close to 4,000 staff, are dubbed 'promising'. Here, Get The Gloss reveals exactly what employees need to do and change for their bosses to understand the reality of their poor mental health. Skipping work due to the blues, often triggered by hectic workloads, can frustrate bosses and hold employees back from achieving their ambitions      +1. Skipping work due to the blues, often triggered by hectic workloads, can frustrate bosses and hold employees back from achieving their ambitions

Dr Samuel Harvey, lead author of the study, said: “Workplaces and managers should be part of the solution to poor mental health.”| One of the key problems of mental illness is the impact it can have on people's careers, but this doesn't have to be the case. Managers are in a unique position to help employees with their mental health, yet many can feel reluctant to raise mental health concerns without formal training.

Why you really want to have a supportive manager

He added: “Having a supportive manager can make a huge difference to a person's mental wellbeing”. As this study shows, giving basic mental health training to managers can bring significant changes to both confidence and behaviour among staff.

“With a large proportion of employees now working longer and more flexibly than in previous generations, these results are a promising sign that managers can take a more active role in assisting their employees to lead mentally healthier lives.” It is the first ever study to show mental health training for managers can improve their employees absences from work. It is also the first time that a monetary figure on the value of manager mental health training has been able to be calculated.

The training was associated with a return on investment of £5.94 (AUD$9.98) for every 60p (AUD$1) spent on training, the researchers found.

How was the study carried out?

The managers, from the Fire & Rescue service in New South Wales, either received the RESPECT mental health training, or were given no intervention. Both the managers and their employees were then reassessed six months later to determine any changes in work-related sick days.

They found sick leave decreased by 18 per cent in those whose managers went on the training programme - a reduction of 6.45 hours per employee. However, absences in the control group jumped by 10 per cent.

Managers feel unskilled

The researchers warned that many managers feel they don't have the skills needed to contact an employee who is off sick for mental health reasons. They fear contact could cause harm or lead to complaints, but the training course taught them how to do so respectfully.

Researchers said the findings mostly apply to frontline emergency services staff, who face 'unique stressors' throughout their daily duties. They stressed further research is needed to confirm the results of the trial, and to determine the impact such training can have on other jobs.

The total cost of delivering the training was £625.55 (AUD$1017.13), per manager, the researchers calculated. In 2016, 137 million sick days were recorded in Britain. Nearly 12 per cent were due for mental health issues, Government figures showed.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4973662/Don-t-want-depression-boss-course.html

Questions for discussion:

  1. A landmark study found employees reported 18 per cent less sick days caused by poor mental health, if their managers went on a mental health awareness course. Do you like the idea of such a course for bosses?
  2. Do you think it’s possible that such courses will come into common use in Russia?  Would it be good practice?
  3. How can bosses change after mental health training? Will they become more reserved and supportive?
  4. Do you think that your boss needs to go on a mental health awareness course? Or if you are a boss, do you think that it’ll be helpful for you?
  5. Could you persuade your boss to go on such a course? Would you do that?
  6. What problems can steady stress cause?
  7. Will it be good if we could take sick days to manage with stress and emotional problems?
  8. Do you think that everyone should go to a psychologist from time to time to practice proper emotional hygiene, or we should be able to cope with our problems all by ourselves?
  9. What do you think of the idea of corporate mental health awareness course available for all employees optionally?
  10. What do you think, is it a good idea to see in-house psychologist?
  11. Should we take care of our mental health as much as we take care of our physical health? If so, what should we do?
  12. People of what professions should regularly see psychologist or psychotherapist in order not to go insane because of their work?

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