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Business people avoid discussing mental health due to fear of appearing weak

The SFA is urging employers in small businesses to address mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Image: stressed man image via Shutterstock

THE SMALL FIRMS Association (SFA) is calling on small businesses to address mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, citing research that found one in five people of working age experience a mental health problem.

The SFA said that the most common issues in the workplace are stress and low morale and stressed the importance for owner managers to put the right structures in place to support themselves and their employees.

AJ Noonan, chairman of the association said that if issues aren’t addressed, they can have serious long-term consequences for the business and the individual.

“Stress-related issues; increased employee absences; lost productivity; increased work pressure on other colleagues – can have a negative effect on the overall performance of a business,” he said. “Tackling workforce challenges is an essential part of achieving better performance and greater growth.”

The SFA commented that mental health remains an area that many people do not understand or fear, and as a result, it is not talked about, especially by business people.

“Very often individuals, including business owners are reluctant to seek help,” Noonan said. “As it may be seen as a weakness or an inability to cope with business pressures.”

“Mental health problems are not necessarily a barrier to effective working,” he added. “In fact, work can play a very positive role in supporting individuals who have, or who are recovering from, mental health problems.”

Read: Two-thirds of Cork’s homeless have mental conditions – report>

Read: Suicides in Ireland are not “out of hand” – Minister Lynch>

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