It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, is anxiety. Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects many people in the UK, and the workplace is no exception. With the high-pressure environment, deadlines, and long working hours, it is easy to see how anxiety can become an invisible struggle for many employees. However, it is essential to understand that it is a treatable condition, and there are ways to overcome it.

Anxiety in the Workplace

Anxiety in the workplace is a growing concern, with a recent study¹ finding that 12.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, anxiety, and depression in the UK. Furthermore, the study also found that over half a million people in the UK are experiencing work-related mental health conditions at a level that they believe is making them ill.

These statistics highlight the need for employers to take this condition seriously and create a supportive environment for their employees.

Employees who suffer from anxiety often feel isolated and misunderstood.  This is because symptoms can manifest in many ways, including physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.

Physical symptoms can include sweating, trembling, nausea, and a rapid heartbeat. Emotional symptoms can include feeling overwhelmed, tense, or fearful. Cognitive symptoms can include racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of impending doom. There are various types of anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Each of these disorders has specific triggers and symptoms, and it is essential to identify them to receive effective treatment.

Seeking Help

If you’re struggling with anxiety in the workplace, seeking help is essential. Employers can provide support through employee assistance programmes (EAPs), which offer counselling and other support services.

At BHSF, we offer a range of therapies and counselling services to help people struggling with anxiety. Our team of APPTS-accredited counsellors provide evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT),  Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), and training courses. Mental health support training courses help individuals identify their triggers, develop coping mechanisms, and learn how to manage their symptoms effectively. Our services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each business, ensuring that their employees receive the right support at the right time.

Creating a safe environment for employees

One of the most effective ways of managing anxiety is through early intervention. This means that employers need to create a safe and supportive environment where employees can feel comfortable discussing their mental health. A recent report² by CIPD has found that poor managers have a negative effect on employee mental health, and highlights the need for line managers to be trained on people skills.

Moreover, managers with effective people management skills are likely to build trust-based working relationships. This will encourage people to disclose if they are under excessive pressure or dealing with anxiety, for example.

In conclusion, anxiety is a prevalent mental health condition that can affect people’s ability to work and live their lives. It’s important to seek help if you’re struggling in the workplace, as there are various therapies and counselling approaches available to help you manage your symptoms. Mindfulness and grounding Techniques can be effective ways to manage anxiety by helping individuals stay focused on the present moment.

We have created some helpful resources on grounding techniques and the 333 Rule, which you can download and share with your colleagues and employees below.

Sources:

¹ Health and Safety Executive, “Work-related stress, anxiety, and depression statistics in Great Britain,” https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf

² https://www.cipd.org/globalassets/media/knowledge/knowledge-hub/reports/2023-pdfs/2023-report-importance-of-people-management-8329.pdf