Today is World Mental Health Day, an international event that aims to encourage discussion about mental health issues. This year, the focus is mental health in the workplace.
Mental health problems are all too common in the workplace and are the leading cause of sickness absence. But it can be difficult for people to talk about their mental health at work, and unfortunately, in some cases a person’s work environment might make things even harder. In 2016, research from Beat found that one in three eating disorder sufferers experience stigma or discrimination at work, and 40% of respondents described their employer’s impact on their recovery as “unhelpful”.
So today, we’re calling on workplaces to tackle stigma and misunderstanding, and offer support and understanding for those with eating disorders. There are lots of things employers can do to make things easier for those suffering from these illnesses.
An eating disorder is a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and therefore employees with eating disorders have the same rights as anyone else protected under the Act. That means that employers must make reasonable adjustments to enable the person to do their job effectively without doing harm to their wellbeing. If you have an eating disorder, you are within your rights to discuss with your employer things like:
Understanding and compassion can go a long way towards helping someone with an eating disorder. If you know someone you work with has an eating disorder, things that will make a real difference include:
We also encourage employers to consider having Mental Health First Aiders as part of their First Aid policy.
You can find out more about what to do if you’re worried about an employee here.
Work should not take a toll on people’s mental health. If you don’t feel you’re getting the support you need, or you’re concerned about someone you work with, Beat are here to help. Find out about the services we can offer here.