29 Apr 2020
Hayley Boyd, Office and HR Manager, discusses the increased need for mental health awareness and what the BPF team are doing to keep happy and well during these challenging times.
Whether you are juggling childcare and work or feeling isolated because you cannot see your family, the impact of Covid-19 lockdown is felt by us all in some way. Maybe you are feeling anxious, tired, irritated or low. You may be concerned about your health or someone close to you. It is ok to not be ok, but we must seek support if we need it. It cannot be emphasised enough that now, more than ever, it is vital that we take care of our mind as well as our body.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, mental ill health was the number one cause of long-term sickness among UK workers as reported in the CIPD annual survey 2020, and the World Health organisation say that a pandemic increases the risk of mental ill health and brings an increased risk of suicide both during and after.
A growing concern among employers is the “always on culture”. We have all had to adapt to working from home very quickly. Whilst we all seem to have become video conference wizards, it’s important we do not let technology stop us from disconnecting from work during non-working hours and breaks. Smart phones and laptops make it just as easy to access your work emails outside of work as it does inside work and hence, we end feeling like we’re always on call. Over time, this builds pressure and can have a negative effect on our mental wellbeing. This stress and anxiety is the leading cause of staff being signed off in the workplace.
How can we tackle the “always on culture”?
The BPF staff shared their tips to improve and maintain their wellbeing:
Look after your body
Manage difficult feelings
Even simply sharing these tips between us all has helped to remind us that we’re all in the same boat. It’s tough, but there are things we can do to try and mitigate the impact. Our return to work as we used to know it may seem a long way away, but it is to be hoped that there are lessons we can learn from this time that will change both our personal and professional lives for the better.
You can speak to the following organisations for help and advice:
The Samaritans – 116 123 (available 24hrs a day)
Mind – 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 (available Monday-Friday 9.00-6.00)
NHS – 111 (available 24hrs a day)
Hayley Boyd, Office and HR Manager