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91 million working days per year are sacrificed to mental health illness.  More and more companies in the UK are recognising mental health as an important occupational issue.  Companies like Marks and Spencer, Boots, and Astra Zeneca are creating successful policies that address mental health in the workplace and define the key elements of mental well-being while at work.

Companies are preparing themselves by outlining the effects mental ill health illness has on sickness absence and work performance, while developing initiatives to reduce mental ill health stigma, promote mental well being and assist employees who are suffering from a range of mental illnesses.  Training programmes for personnel managers are increasingly being adopted, reinforced, monitored and evaluated.

Depression & Anxiety

Depression can be debilitating as by definition it lasts for a period of at least two weeks and includes sadness, hopelessness, lack of motivation and general disinterest.  It may interfere with daily activities such as work if it progresses into a major depressive episode.

There are different types of depression as well as different levels of severity including but not limited to:

  • Major Depression
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Psychotic Depression
  • Postpartum Depression

Anxiety is a general term that can include fear, nervousness, apprehension and worrying.  It can range in severity and seriously impact daily life including work attendance.  Anxiety can be described as a disproportionate reaction to a situation and can include different types such as:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Other Mental Health Related Illness Issues

Other mental health illness issues include eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, autism, Asperger Syndrome, and attention deficit disorder (with and without hyperactivity).  Other mental health personality related disorders include borderline, narcissistic, and oppositional defiant disorder.  While there are too many alternative mental health disorders to list, each is debilitating and can lead to a lack of productivity and presence in the workplace.  Understanding and outlining policies on mental illness is the first step towards improving absence rates and employee satisfaction.

How Scheduling Can Help Reduce Mental Health Related Absence

Excess stress can lead to fatigue, bad judgement, poor decisions and exhaustion.  Prolonged stress can lead to crippling anxiety and depression.  Prolonged stress can also increase the severity of any number of other mental illnesses, or trigger episodes in those who are prone to it. By the time employers notice a pattern of absence, it can be too late.

A system is needed that calculates the work missed in a method simple enough to view at a glance and understand easily.  Only then can absence been addressed and adjustments made to help individuals in the workforce who are experiencing or susceptible to mental illness.

The use of “Sickness Statistics” within Holiday Scheduler can help employees identify absence patterns which may be the first sign of an employee suffering from a stress related illness.

For more information on our Holiday Scheduler, contact MTIS today.