Anxiety is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.
Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our homes or buying food. But anxiety can be made easier to manage.
Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change – making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.
Types of Anxiety?
Common types of anxiety disorders include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Separation anxiety
There are also some common anxiety themes and experiences which might impact our lifestyle. For example, experiencing agoraphobia, the fear of public spaces or health anxiety, making us anxious about changes to our health or experiencing health-related issues.
Pathfinder Homes Mental Health Policy
Stephen Skinner our Health & Safety Manager (Inc Mental Heath First Aider) States:
“It is the policy of Pathfinder Homes Ltd to provide initial and ongoing support and help for employees who are/may be suffering with mental health problems.
For the purposes of this policy, a mental health problem refers to mental health conditions that have been diagnosed by a medical professional, such as depression or PTSD, and signs of stress and anxiety.
The purpose of this policy is to assist with creating an open and honest workplace where line managers and employees can discuss mental health problems, and to ensure the necessary support is known and offered to employees when needed.
Unless it is related to the specific requirements of the job, the company will not ask applicants at any stage of the recruitment process for information regarding any previous health issues, in order to ensure potential employees are not discriminated against because of their mental health history.
Line manager responsibilities
Wherever a manager perceives mental health to be a potential problem for a member of staff — commonly during or as a follow-up to a period of sickness — that manager should talk to the member of staff to discuss what additional support can be offered.
Any support required by the employee is likely to be known by the employee themselves. The company actively encourages employees to be open and honest about their mental health and to inform their line manager of any issues at an early opportunity to allow these to be addressed.
Where a line manager identifies a mental health issue, they should work alongside the employee to create a personal wellness action plan that provides for proactive management of their mental health. Amongst other things, a wellness action plan should cover actions and measures that can support the employee’s mental health.
Making workplace adjustments
The company is legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to an employee’s role or workplace if they have a disability that places them at a disadvantage when performing their role. Examples of adjustments for mental health include adjusting hours of work or reallocating duties. Once the adjustments are agreed, they will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Managing absence and return to work.
Where the employee is absent by reason of their mental health concerns, their line manager will communicate with the employee on a regular basis during their absence. The Company’s sickness absence policy will apply to the employee’s absence as normal, subject to any reasonable adjustments in place for the employee.
Upon the employee’s return from absence, a return to work plan will be discussed and agreed between the line manager and the employee to ensure necessary steps can be taken to support the employee to remain at work.
Information concerning an employee’s mental health is classed as a special category of personal data. This information will only be disclosed to others in line with the company’s policies on data protection.”