How to be mentally healthy at work

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Explains how you can be mentally healthy at work, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.

This article is another piece from the website Mind, original article found here

Many people find going to work is good for their mental health. It can help you look after your mental health by providing:

  • a source of income
  • a sense of identity
  • contact and friendship with others
  • a steady routine and structure
  • opportunities to gain achievements and contribute

“I found work helps me to maintain an important part of my identity – separate from the illness. It’s still me in here.”

At times you may find that your work is affected because of your mental health problem. For instance, if you are experiencing hypomania, you might find it difficult to concentrate. But by making a few changes, and with support from your employer, work can be a positive experience.

What if work is making my mental health worse?

Unfortunately, you might find work can has a negative impact on your mental health. This could be because of:

  • workplace stress
  • poor relations with your colleagues
  • the type of work you’re doing
  • experiencing stigma, or being treated unfairly because of your mental health problem
  • being unsure whether to tell your boss and colleagues about your mental health problem
  • worrying about returning to work after a period of poor mental health

If work is affecting your mental health, you can take steps to address the problems.

“Work takes my mind off my mental illness but also makes it worse as no-one around you knows what you are going through so you have to pretend everything is fine.”

Whether you have a mental health problem or not, your employer has a duty of care to you under health and safety legislation. Employees have the right to:

  • work where risks to their health are properly controlled
  • protection after returning to work from sickness absence if they have become more vulnerable due to their illness

What is disability discrimination?

You are considered disabled if your mental health problem has a substantial and long-term adverse effect (12 months, or more) on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

It is discrimination if you are treated worse than others at work because of your disability. The Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination when you’re:

  • applying for a job
  • at work
  • made redundant
  • dismissed

See our web pages about disability discrimination and discrimination at work for more information or contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service for independent support and advice.

What if I’m unemployed?

People experience unemployment for different reasons, such as:

  • redundancy
  • sickness
  • lack of opportunities
  • relocation
  • dismissal
  • not being well enough to work

When looking for a new job, challenges such as finding a suitable role, writing applications and attending interviews can take time. You might find that being unemployed affects your confidence, or that it can be disheartening if employers don’t get back to you. See our pages on wellbeing and increasing your self-esteem for ways to look after yourself.

Who can support me in finding a job?

If you have a mental health problem and you’re facing barriers to finding employment, there are organisations that can support you.

  • Your local Jobcentre Plus can support you in finding a job that is right for you.
  • Shaw Trust and Remploy work with people with mental health problems, helping them prepare for interviews, find appropriate employment and stay well in work.
  • Rethink has more information about different schemes and organizations that can help you into work.

Unfortunately, young people can find themselves in difficult situations that can lead to having no care options available. UK Care and Secure Transport Services have the solution for when this situation arises.

We at UK Care, support young people by providing live in support workers. We encourage them to focus on their strengths and build a positive support network to achieve their ambitions such as returning to education, transitioning to a new placement or aiding with independent living.

Our services focus on supporting young people facing homelessness, including those who are:

  • Care leavers or looked after children
  • Challenging Placements
  • Young parents
  • Experiencing family or relationship breakdown

All our Support Carers are screened and vetted to BS7858 providing piece of mind about the integrity and quality of our carers. All venues and activities are risk assessed along with site instruction packs for the young person.

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