Many young people feel unable to discuss mental health with their employers due to a fear of being labelled as ‘snowflakes’.
Despite 72% of Gen Z (18-22 year olds) and 58% of millennials (22-34 year olds) experiencing mental illness, they are reluctant to seek support or take a mental health sick day.
They refuse to do so to avoid being judged by other people, denied professional opportunities, or considered part of a ‘snowflake’ culture unable to cope with workloads.
Despite the new label, this is another form of presenteeism brought upon by the stigma associated with mental ill health.
Many of the participants in the survey from Milkround didn’t know that there is no difference between a mental health sick day and a regular one.
It’s an unfortunate statistic. After all, if an employee had a virus and felt unable to work as a result, there would be much less resistance to taking a day off to recover. Other (right-minded) employees would understand too.
The key is to bridge that gap and make mental illness just as important as physical illness.
This may involve changing the culture of a workplace. Employers can reassure all employees – not just the young – that they acknowledge that mental ill health exists and they’ll be supportive.
This simple mission statement can make all the difference. Managers should also be empowered with the skills and tools to help an employee if someone came to them with a problem.
This combination of soft skills and awareness can be gained through training. It’s not just useful for managers either – all employees can benefit from mental health training to build a more open, honest, understanding workplace.
Mental Health First Aid is ideal for doing this. It’s a two day course that teaches how to spot the symptoms of mental ill health. What’s more, it then teaches how to direct people towards help if they need it.
Our next MHFA course is taking place in London on the 27thand 28thof November. If you believe it can be of benefit to you or your team, find out more here.