For anyone that’s suffering from anxiety, OCD or other mental health conditions, living through a pandemic is not a walk in the park.
A time of crisis is enough to cause panic in anyone. If you’re already struggling with a ‘normal’ day, the added stress means it’s even more difficult to keep your head above water.
But, it might not all be bad news. Using mental health data commissioned by Adzooma, there may be some light at the end of this tunnel.
Why we should care about mental health
COVID-19 is a pandemic, with just under 500,000 people affected around the world as of March 26th 2020.
To put things into perspective, mental health currently affects 676 million people worldwide. It’s not a pandemic, it’s an epidemic.
Mental health isn’t contagious. You don’t contract depression from shaking hands with someone that has it. But it is a crisis that’s often overlooked. In fact, 70-75% of people with mental illness receive no treatment at all, choosing to remain silent. This is particularly true in men, who make up 75% of all suicides. In the UK, men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the country.
Mental health caused 44% of all sick days
1 in 5 employees have called in sick to avoid work. And no, this wasn’t because they simply didn’t want to go. It’s because their mental health had become too much for them to do their job.
Rather than be honest, 90% of people lied about it, using another reason for their absence.
In 2019, there were 602,000 total cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK. That’s 44% of all health-related sick days.
The cost of this is projected to be between £39.4 billion to £99 billion each year for businesses. If you break this down, it can cost employers £1,300 per employee if they don’t have the mental health support in place for their staff.
“My mental health has impacted my work. It’s caused me to leave jobs, to call out some days when it’s just too much for me to do normal day to day activities. I also have tried to go into work on days where I’m not 100% and my quality of work and productivity have suffered.”
Rhea – Via Adzooma.
69% of people say working at home helps with mental health
Here’s the light at the end of the tunnel. According to research, 69% of people believe that working at home improves their mental health.
Around the world, offices are shutting en-masse, sending entire workforces to complete their jobs from the comfort of their own homes. If there’s ever a time that people needed space to focus on their mental health this would be it.
Its given employees the space they need to recover mentally. Beyond that, it’s showing employers that their business is capable of functioning remotely.
The positive outcome of this is that hopefully after the COVID-19 crisis, we can set up a world where employees aren’t needed in an office every day. A world where employees are free to work at home and care more for their mental health – reducing office-based overheads and the cost of sick days.
Astonishing mental health data
The data on mental health was complied by interviewing employees of a range of digital marketing and technology companies, including Google, Facebook and The Independent. It revealed stark information about the current state of mental health, such as:
- 67.9% of people state that their mental health has impacted their work.
- 57.5% of people state that work has a negative impact on their mental health.
- Only 32.1% of people have told their employer about their mental health.
- Of the 67.9% of people staying silent on mental health, 83.3% of them don’t plan on ever telling their employer.
- 66% pf people feel that their work is understanding about their mental health.
- But 46% of people feel like they don’t have enough mental health support at work.
- 90.4% of people believe working flexible hours can help with mental health.
- Only 24.4% of people have mental health first-aiders at their work.
- 91.7% of people believe there should be more services for mental health.
- 89.9% of people think the government doesn’t do enough to support mental health.
- Only 28.6% of people currently access mental health services.
- But if more services were available to them, 66.7% would access them.
Access the full data here.
A push for positive change
One of the best things to come of out the COVID-19 pandemic is people working together.
Communities are being brought closer and we’re showing compassion and offering help in brand new ways. If you’re ever unsure of that, just watch a video of people coming together to applaud everyone who’s working to stop the virus every single night. It’s a wonderful show of camaraderie.
It’s a global crisis and we’re in it together. Now, hopefully, we can carry on this momentum to help with mental health and continue the fight for better mental health support.
With support, we can get better. We can push for positive change to help the crisis. Without support, it will only get worse.
Together, let’s take action and break the silence.
This guest blog was written by Danielle Strouther. She is currently writing lots of words about all kinds of unique subjects at Adzooma and searching for a word she likes more than discombobulated. She has a masters in Film and Television, so can tell people she knows what’s good on Netflix.
3 thoughts on “Covid 19: Positive and Negative for Mental health and Work? Guest blog by Danielle Strouther”
Thank you so much for sharing this it was a great read! My OCD was getting particularly bad before the lockdown started and my boss was really not happy about us working from home for whatever reason, but he eventually caved. He is unaware I have OCD, and I’ve held off telling him purely because it’s a small company and I don’t want to be treated differently.
While I’m terrified of what my mental health will be like when things go back to normal, WFH has 100% been the best thing for me. This whole thing is definitely illustrating that so many jobs are perfectly capable of being done remotely if employers just put a little trust into their staff! x
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I so agree! I hope you feel way better soon. Working from home really helps me too 🙂
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