Lancashire; Let's Talk about Mental Health... In the UK 70 million work days are lost due to mental illness. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. Yet a high proportion of sufferers (9 in 10) will face discrimination for having a mental illness. That’s a lot of people. World Mental Health Day is the perfect opportunity to encourage frank discussion around mental health stigma so that we can begin to change how society views mental health issues. And we have a range of activities planned to get the people of Lancashire talking… About World Mental Health Day So why are we going on about lost work days? Well Tuesday 10th October 2017 is World Mental Health Day – and this year’s theme, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is mental health in the workplace. Working conditions and environment can have a huge impact on mental health and, equally, someone's mental health can have a significant impact to perform well in their job. It’s important that we encourage the positive discussion of mental health in work – after all, we spend a great proportion of our lives at work, so creating a positive and supportive environment is crucial. 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (7%) Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men (8% vs 10.9%) Evidence suggests that 7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. Consider that the average person who is absent due to mental illness takes 12 weeks off work, do you think they are likely to take more or less days if they are positively supported by their workplace? Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work. It’s a no brainer. So, what are we doing for WMHD and how can you get involved? Mental health sufferers face a lot of stigma, both in and out of work. In fact 4 in 10 employees would choose not to discuss their mental health with their employer. This needs to change. One of the ways we can all become more accepting of mental health is to start talking. And that’s precisely what we’ll be doing across Lancashire on the 10th October. You can find us in Burnley, Lancaster and Preston encouraging an open discussion on mental health issues such as depression (the leading cause of disability worldwide) and anxiety. Our outreach stands will be at Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston, Marketgate Shopping Centre, Lancaster, and Charter Walk in Burnley, where our Advocates will be starting conversations with the passing public about mental health. Our stands will be stocked with happy little giveaways guaranteed to make you smile and fun games and quizzes to really get you thinking and talking. So if you see us, be sure to pop over and become a part of the change. If you are a business owner, we can even suggest some initiatives that can help kick start the conversation in your workplace and give you advice on how to support your employees’ mental wellbeing. And of course, we will also be talking about and raising awareness of our free advocacy services, which support people in Lancashire suffering from a range of mental health issues. Here’s a recap of where you can find us: Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston 10am – 2pm Marketgate Shopping Centre, Lancaster – 11am – 2pm Charter Walk, Burnley, 11am – 2pm But don’t wait for the 10th October – you can start the discussion now with your friends and colleagues by sharing this post.