Mental health issues are prevalent in society today. However, despite the fact that many young/recent graduates are taking sick days for mental health, it is not a topic that receives enough exposure in the workplace.
There has also been a rise in mental health issues among students in recent years and these issues continue to persist upon entering the workplace. Exiting university and entering head-first into the workplace can be a daunting and stressful process and can create mental health and wellbeing issues. However, there are actions that employers and companies can take to help graduates with their mental health.
Graduate Mental Health at Work
75% of mental health issues arise before a person reaches the age of 24, with the vast majority of these being students. Students are more likely to apply to companies that have a positive outlook on mental health issues. Helping graduates with the transition from university to work reduces stress in the future and has a positive impact on the mental wellbeing that follows.
Some factors that can aggravate mental health issues include working overtime, feeling a lack of confidence, an unpleasant work environment and feeling pressure from colleagues or managers.
Employers should help graduates with their transition is to improve their graduate induction training to aid the process. Furthermore, employers can provide guidance and support in the forms of seminars, FAQ’s, blogs, that can provide some relief.
Mental Health Sick Days
Despite the fact that so many people suffer from mental health issues, 69% are not diagnosed and 49% will not take a mental sick day from work, according to a recent survey. The best practice for employers is to develop a culture that is accepting of mental health issues. Furthermore, employers should identify factors that can cause work stress and pinpoint ways in which these can be reduced, to lower the number of mental health sick days.
Addressing Mental Health at Work
The factors listed below are more likely to promote a better mental health and wellbeing for graduates in the workplace:
- A manger that is invested in their personal development
- Finding the work they are doing interesting and engaging
- Being included in social activities that is work-related
- Organisations that proactively promote wellbeing
- Being able to take breaks
Ideally, all graduates should have the confidence to discuss their mental health or workplace stress issues to their employer, but a recent survey revealed that only 51% of graduates say this is the case. To combat this, employers can:
- Offer benefits that can help reduce stress, such as financial support with relocation
- Organise work-related social activities
- Ensure graduates have a point of contact if their wellbeing is suffering
- Ensure senior members of staff are trained on mental health and show that they care. This behaviour will have a trickle-down effect through the organisation.
The Graduate Project have an array of positions available. Please get in touch with one of our specialist consultants on 0207 043 4629 or apply online via www.thegraduateproject.co.uk.
By Anirudh Nair