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Research by the mental health awareness charity, Mind, has found that work is the biggest cause of stress for adults, even more than other current culprits, debt or financial problems.
With at least one in six workers suffering from common mental health problems, it’s really important that employers take this seriously and proactively support their employees. As well as being a moral obligation, stress can stop people performing at their best. National Stress Awareness Day is as good a time as any to highlight these issues.
Armed with these facts, Barracudas is working proactively to create a culture of inclusivity and support. We’re committed to giving our staff a space to share their thoughts and feelings in an open and non-judgemental environment and providing a stress-free working environment.
Mental health problems are as varied as physical health issues and range from anger, anxiety, pi-polar disorder, depression, self harm, loneliness, panic attacks, suicidal feelings and many more. Being under pressure both at work and in our personal lives is more common than we think. It’s vital that we recognise this in the workplace.
We have a comprehensive wellbeing policy in place at Barracudas. Our dedicated Mental Health First Aiders have regular meetings to discuss ideas on how to help our team and implement useful initiatives to make sure we’re actively making a difference to prevent stress at work. Our Wellbeing Team are trained and continue to attend mental health courses so they're well positioned to develop practical strategies to support our staff.
At the very heart of this is reducing the stigma of mental health issues. By just getting rid of barriers around fear of judgement, or worse, being penalised for opening up about our anxieties or problems, Barracudas reduces a significant trigger for stress in the workplace.
As someone famously said, it’s good to talk! As well as having an open door policy to discuss any issues, we have a dedicated wellbeing board in our staff room. On this we’ve created a Stress Awareness Space, where everyone can share their thoughts and feelings when they're feeling stressed. This is a great way for us to open up the conversation and it’s a great starting point to helping each other. We know it can make a huge difference to be able to share how we’re feeling with friends and colleagues. By sharing, we get some great advice and tips from our colleagues as well as being able to help our colleagues through their difficulties.
As well sharing our thoughts and offering each other advice on our stress awareness board we have regular wellbeing walks. Each week a group is invited to take part in an extended walk to take some time in the fresh air and getting a bit of exercise. Not only do both these things boost our mood but it’s a great opportunity for our teams to discuss any issues they may want to with their colleagues helping to relieve tension and anxiety.
As well as permanent support and regular activities, the message of mental health awareness at Barracudas is part of the culture. Throughout the year we have a number of events, actions and initiatives to keep the conversation going. From receiving a happy pack on World Mental Health Day combined with a full team walk to planned mental health awareness quizzes and sharing useful information and tips. We’re definitely in it for the long term.
If you need a bit of help take a look at these useful tips for everyday living from Mind.