When it comes to mental health in the workplace, we must listen to Generation Z.

mental health support hands

Zack, A Youth Ambassador with OCD was told that improving mental health support structures in a retail placement would damage the company’s reputation. Employers need do better than that.

Generation Z is a generation of young hard working youths, with more collected social awareness and empathy than the generations before, yet we have become the generation labelled ‘the snowflakes’ with the perceived idea that we have an inability to work well under stressful situations.

This is down to a misunderstanding.

I consider myself very lucky to be so aware of mental health and the detrimental effects it can have on one’s health. From past experiences of dealing with severe OCD and anxiety, I know just how debilitating and cruel your own mind can be. It completely affected my work and made it near to impossible for me to even turn up.

Whilst being grounded and in a much healthier place than I was in the past, my experience has made me realise just how important support for mental health in the workplace is.

It sometimes feels – especially in retail jobs where there is a sense of guilt for calling in sick – that acknowledging variable health will affect the company, who appears to have no real regard for your wellbeing.

There was one placement in particular where I addressed this issue, stating that there was a need for pastoral care for the staff to be put in place, and I was met with the response that it would unfortunately have a negative impact on the reputation of the company.

This encounter leads me to want to fight for changes in how we perceive mental health in the workplace, and how vital it is to understand in relation to levels of youth employment.

Implementing pastoral care, mentors and a positive attitude towards these issues are some of the smallest little changes we need to carry out in order to make a big difference.

See more on mental health for young people on Youth Employment UK.

Employers working with us through the Youth Friendly Employer Mark can access a range of free supporting resources and advice on mental health, mentoring and other guidance.

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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