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Labelling gone mad?

This month sees the publication of “DSM-5” – the latest version of the book which seeks to define and classify all forms of mental illness. There has been a lot of debate in the media about the suggestion that the American Psychiatric Association are going too far in their attempts to classify normal human responses such as grief and shyness as mental disorders. Much of the criticism is aimed at the dangers of classifying illness in terms of groups of symptoms rather than the underlying causes – which rather subversively implies that these are proper “medical” conditions.

Whatever you think about our societies’ current trend to stick labels on everything, there is no doubt that a large proportion of the population are currently receiving medication for forms of mental distress for which the causes are not clearly understood.

According to the data from the NHS Information Centre, just under 34 million prescriptions were dispensed for antidepressants in 2007/08, rising to 43.4 million in 2010/11.

So which of your employees is sick?

Depending on the size of your organisation, you can probably assume from this statistic that a number of your employees are currently struggling with mental ill-health. Is it the one who rang in sick this morning? Or the one who simply didn’t turn up? Or is it the stoical person in the office who says nothing but appears to be quietly getting on with their work?

NHS Guidance

Current guidance from the National Health Service for maintaining mental well-being can be summarised as the “five a day” recipe of:

1) Connect
2) Be active
3) Keep learning
4) Give to others
5) Take notice

This seems like common sense – but unfortunately even this well-intended advice lacks an organising idea which pulls together exactly why this constitutes a sensible approach.

But what can you do about it?

There is still a lot of stigma about mental health. The lack of any clear explanation for the cause of many diagnosed illnesses means that people often assume the worst – that they must be “weak” or “genetically pre-disposed” to illness. For this reason people, and also the growing suspicion that a lot of the drugs simply do not work, many people are reluctant to ask for help.

The very least you should consider doing is firstly, to find out whether there is a problem. Unless you know this – there is little else which can be done.

in8 offers practical help – today!

in8 can offer you a tailored approach which is efficient, economic and effective. We tailor what we do to fit in with your budget, work-force and other constraints. We can offer:

1) A practical audit of well-being at work in your organisation.

2) Training in how to manage stress while still being healthily stretched.

3) A practical action plan to ‘innoculate’ your workforce against anxiety and depression.

4) Really quick and effective help for anyone who is already struggling.

5) Confidence that you have done the very best you can to ensure health for your employees.

Why not call us now to discuss the next step?