Catch up with Isobar Global HR Director, Nick Bass, on Mindfulness
In our latest interview with Isobar Global HR Director, Nick Bass, we discuss mental health in the workplace, why we all have a responsibility to break the taboo and raise awareness, and advice for people who may be suffering with mental health.
What is your experience of mental health in the workplace?
As somebody who’s worked in HR for a number of years, I have seen many forms of mental health. But one of the most common factors is stress and how it affects people.
In today’s demanding and fast paced world, it’s easy to become stressed. Whether it’s small triggers like a hectic commute to the office, a busy work schedule or just the pressure of appearing a certain a way on social media, or larger scale factors like financial or health related problems, it all adds up.
Personally, I recently suffered from stress and resulting anxiety after the death of a parent and the moving away of a partner, all in a 6-month period. So, I understand the pressures and feelings involved to keep performing at work while dealing with huge personal challenges.
What are the signs that somebody is suffering from stress at work?
Different people react in different ways. There’s not a one-size-fits-all identification of someone who is suffering. But advice from the Mental Health Foundation suggests we can split potential signs of stress into three categories — emotional changes, behavioural changes and health changes. Here are the signs from the Mental Health Foundation website.
“Emotional changes: When people are stressed, they may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, or frustration. These feelings can sometimes feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, making you feel even worse.”
“Behavioural changes: When stressed, people behave differently. For example, they can become withdrawn, indecisive or inflexible. They may be irritable or tearful. Some people may resort to smoking, consuming more alcohol, or in my case binge eating. Stress can make people feel angrier or more aggressive than normal.”
“Health changes: Some people start to experience headaches, nausea and indigestion when dealing with stress. If they experience stress repeatedly over a prolonged period, they may notice their sleep and memory are affected, or eating habits may change, or feel less inclined to exercise.”
You can read more about signs of stress on the Mental Health Foundation website.
Why is raising awareness and supporting people with mental health so important?
We need to break down the taboo of mental health at work, people are suffering in silence. This can’t carry on. It’s important to acknowledge that the people around us may be suffering, and empower our line managers to feel comfortable addressing mental health. No one is immune from mental health complications, and it isn’t something to be ashamed about.
Isobar is launching a learning module to help its people to deal with mental health issues. Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, we wanted to do something that could be easily accessed by all of our people, in any market. We created a simple digital module on Isobar Academy of effective short courses to help people dealing with stress, anxiety and depression.
Through the module we wanted to give line managers the skills, ability and the confidence to talk about mental health with their teams, and that it’s not something to be brushed aside or left for HR, or relationships outside of work to deal with. We are here to help.
What if you need help now?
If you feel like you’re suffering with mental health you should speak to somebody you trust. It could be a loved one, friend, colleague, line manager or HR. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Mind is also a fantastic UK based charity who support people suffering with mental health complications. Visit the Mind website, it’s full of useful information about different types of mental health.