Mental Health Awarness Week: Spotting high stress levels in your organisation (and what to do about them!)

Recognising stress

We’ve 10 FREE stress test cards for you!

The first thing you need to do as a manager to reduce stress in the workplace is to recognise it from an as individual as well as an organisational level. This includes knowing when and how it affects you because one thing is guaranteed … if you’re stressed it will have a knock-on effect.

Spot the symptoms

Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways, but symptoms may include changes in behaviour such as… smoking or drinking more, being unable to sleep, a change in eating habits. Or you may become indecisive, lose concentration, become irritable, angry or anxious, or start feeling tired and listless. Stress can also be the underlying cause of aching muscles, headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure and palpitations……Click here to continue reading

Lead by example

It is important to ensure that on a company-wide level all possible actions are being taken to reduce work-related stress with improved work practices and management techniques. It is also important to take smaller, more immediate actions on a daily basis: encourage your staff to make small lifestyle changes and lead by example.

MeasureKnow your numbers

How many of your staff suffer with  stress and how stressed are they? find out with our free stress test cards email us on and we’ll send you some!

Invest in Wellbeing

Acknowledging stress and having positive attitudes towards it in the workplace ensures an open and positive response to it. It gives people ‘permission’ to be stressed.
All too often, employees are too afraid to mention the ‘S’ word in case it is treated as a sign of weakness. By taking the initiative, introducing a few simple ideas, and leading by example, you can start the attitude adjustment from the ground up. The advice may be obvious, and you may have heard it all before (excuse the pun) but it can’t be stressed enough!



Are You Talking About Mental Health At Work?

Today is the start of Mental health awarness at work week this is a great article from Business Wales with some quite alarming statistics


Many of us have experienced a mental health problem. Right now, one in six workers in Wales is experiencing stress, anxiety or depression. Stress is not a mental health problem but prolonged exposure to unmanageable stress can cause, or worsen existing, mental health problems. Mental health problems are common and yet most employees don’t feel comfortable talking about mental health at work, often fearing being deemed incompetent or less capable than other colleagues.

Mind commissioned YouGov to poll 1250 workers in England and Wales. We found that of the 14% of those we polled who had a diagnosed mental health problem, fewer than half (45%) had told their current employer. Similarly, staff still don’t feel comfortable telling their employer if stress has caused them to need time off work. Of those who said they’d taken time off sick with stress, just five % said the reason they gave their employer was that they were too stressed to work. The remaining 95% cited another reason for their absence, such as an upset stomach (44%) or a headache (7%).

There is also a perception held by staff that their employers don’t believe that a mental health problem is a valid reason for taking time off. A recent survey by AXA PPP Healthcare found that 69% of managers did not believe mental health problems warranted time off work. While most of us experience stress in our jobs, prolonged exposure to stress can affect your ability to concentrate and make decisions and cause physical and mental health problems including  headaches and high blood pressure.

The vast majority of employees experiencing unmanageable stress or a mental health problem can still carry out their role to a high standard, but may need extra support. Employers can only offer additional support if they are aware of any issues staff are facing. As such, organisations need to create an environment which promotes good mental health so staff will feel comfortable talking about any issues. Employees who work within a culture which neglects staff wellbeing will be wary of opening up if they are experiencing issues, potentially leading to bigger problems further down the line, including ‘presenteeism’ – staff coming to work when unwell and not performing at their best.

Under the Equality Act 2010, an employer has a duty to make adjustments for an employee with a disability (including a mental health problem). Adjustments are typically inexpensive and might include offering flexible hours or changes to start or finish time, changes to role, increased support from managers in prioritising and managing workload, and quiet rooms. Supporting staff is more than a legal obligation, it’s part of being a responsible employer.

Thankfully we are beginning to see employers take mental health more seriously and put in place initiatives to support their staff. Attitudes are also starting to change, partly helped by anti-stigma campaigns such as Time to Change Wales. Not only is looking after staff the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense, resulting in increased productivity, morale and retention.

If you’re an employee worried about your own or a colleague’s mental health or a HR professional interested in improving mental wellbeing in your organisation, Mind can help. Visit our website and you’ll find webinars and a range of free resources which you can read online or download.

HR managers and senior business leaders can nip problems in the bud before they worsen by promoting an open and supportive environment. We want to see all employers create a culture where staff are able to speak about mental health and are reassured that if they do disclose a problem, it will lead to support, not discrimination.

For information to help you improve mental wellbeing in your organisation, visit

Claire Foster leads on workplace training in Wales for Mind, the mental health charity