There needs to be mental health support in the workplace especially as staff say it is a priority for them.

Research from an online learning platform FutureLearn.com has found that a majority (68%) of businesses in the UK had no mental health support in place before the pandemic.

 

Fewer businesses have mental health support since the pandemic

Since the pandemic, this number has dropped to 58 percent.

This is despite more than half of businesses agreeing that mental health first aiders are just as important as physical first aiders or fire marshals at work.

Because of the Great Resignation and in response to Covid, 1,000 UK businesses told YouGov what they are doing to combat what is being described as a mental health crisis in the UK.

One in five – 21 percent – said they will be reevaluating their current mental health policies. 

Dr Oliver Harrison worked as a psychiatrist before dedicating his career to digital mental health. 

He said that despite today’s vaccine anniversary, we needed to recognise the impact of Covid-19 on mental health:  “Today marks the one year anniversary of the first Pfizer vaccine administration. This is a moment for both celebration and reflection. Data shows the enormous impact of Covid and lockdowns on our mental health, globally. The pandemic has exposed us all to fear, isolation, and worry, and severely limited our ability to let off steam, whether through meeting a friend, enjoying a meal out, or taking a holiday.”

 

Anyone can suffer with PTSD

The NHS forecasts there will be 230,000 new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in England, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the NHS strategy unit, the forecast was based on the effects the pandemic had on children, young people, relatives of Covid survivors, domestic abuse victims, health and care workers and anyone who had lost people to the virus.

Experts said anyone affected by PTSD could experience extreme thoughts and feelings of negativity. 

Professor Neil Green Greenberg is from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is also an expert editor of the College’s new resource for people with PTSD. He says exposure to any traumatic event puts one at risk of PTSD – and the pandemic had a number of traumatic side-effects.

“It is vital that anyone exposed to traumatic events is properly supported at work and home. Early and effective support can reduce the likelihood of PTSD.”

Dr Harrison said: “The result (of fear from the pandemic) is historic levels of anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug use, and other mental health issues. Students of previous pandemics will also know that the mental health burden often lags several years behind infectious disease because getting back to normal is challenging for many people. This is the second, silent pandemic.”

Mental Health Resources

FutureLearn is offering a free Psychological First Aid course, backed by the Department of Health and Social Care. The three hour course held over three weeks is expected to help people handle mental health challenges in the workplace. It also includes how to support mental health developed as a result of Covid-19.

Mental Health Champion at FutureLearn, Conrad Vivers said mental health first aiders allow people to beat the core of discussions: “Through supporting people in the workplace with mental health challenges we’re impacting the evolution and elevation of society. The ripple effects of these actions lead to a safer environment for employees.”

According to the College, a poll of 709 NHS intensive care staff from six hospitals found 2 in 5 had PTSD symptoms, which is double the numbers of military veterans with recent combat experience.

It also found that 35 percent of CovId-19 patients who had to go on a ventilator had extensive symptoms of PTSD.

The Priory Centre, which is a mental health and behavioural management provider with offices across the UK, has released a number of helpful tips on how to recognise PTSD and how to manage it.

Click here for more information.