In the last decade, there has been a clear change in attitude towards Mental Health. Thanks to the emergence of social media and the growing coverage in the mainstream media, the once taboo subject no longer has such a prominent stigma attached to it.
We knew it was imperative that we moved Mental Health to the forefront of conversation topics in Architecture and Interior Design. At our Employment Trends Breakfast Seminar in February 2019, we invited a Mental Health professional to share some information. He delivered a presentation regarding ‘Mental Health First Aid- Why it is integral to your wellbeing strategy’. The feedback, enthusiasm and discussions after the presentation confirmed the growing importance of this subject.
This year we decided to approach employees using our confidential survey to seek answers on how well practices have done with regards to their policies on Mental Health. Only 38% of employees were aware of their employer having a Mental Health Policy. We were quite surprised by this feedback. We have seen an increase in practices instigating Mental Health policies at work. Many HR professionals and leaders have been pleased to share with us the implementation of them. We can only consider that this is not yet transitioning through to some of the employees themselves. The communication of these new policies may not be delivered effectively, or simply, employees just do not want to listen.
If you had the need to speak to your manager or another member of staff about your mental health, would you feel able to?
What we believe was more important is whether employees felt they could speak to their manager or another member of staff about their Mental Health if they needed to. We were delighted that 65% felt that they could.
We did have a mixed response in the comments section to this question from extremely positive, to some comments that we thought indicated quite serious implications:
“We have several Mental Health trained officers.”
“Although there is no official Mental Health Policy, I believe my manager and company take it very seriously.”
“I am not sure if my employer has a Mental Wellbeing Policy (it is not written in my contract) but if I had any issues or problems I would feel 100% free to talk to them. They are very supportive.”
“They hold mental wellness, depression and stress seminars, as well as mindfulness and yoga classes occasionally, to improve awareness.”
“Although I could speak to my manager about my Mental Health - should I ever need to - I would not do that.”
“I would seek anonymous sources for Mental Health help for confidentiality.”
“Stress and tight deadlines have caused me to have several all-nighters, but mostly because I’m afraid of losing my job.”
Although there has been no legal change to make Mental Health first aid-type training mandatory in UK businesses, we believe that those practices that can deliver on their policy and enable employees to speak openly will see positive results.
Mental Health is incredibly important; it will affect your employee’s emotional, psychological and social well-being and will impact how they think, feel and act. It will determine how they will handle stress, relate to others and how they make choices, all of which are important aspects of working in our Architecture and Design practice.
“Mental Health is not about good or bad. It is about creating a positive workplace culture where it is ok to talk about Mental Health and to share best practice.”
This is an extract taken from our Salary and Employment Review 2020. If you would like to read our full Architecture and Interior Design Salary and Employment Review, then you can download here.
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