It’s time to talk about it
To honour World Mental Health Day, which took place on Thursday 10 October, we examine how the can making industry can be doing more to protect the health of its workforce.
Once seen as the ultimate taboo, and masked as banter with unhelpful phrases such as ‘man up’ if someone is feeling a little glum, quite rightly society is tackling the issue of mental health. It’s now ok not to be ok, but how are we as the can making industry doing to safeguard our staff?
It’s estimated that one in six people in the past week has experienced a common mental health problem, and mental disorders affect one in four people. Taking the UK as a case study, suicide is the single biggest killer for men up to the age of 49, with about 6,000 suicides in the UK each year. So how many within our industry are suffering from mental health issues at the moment?
Let’s examine our industry rationally, and although pure speculation, our industry has to be fertile grounds for potential sufferers of depression and the like. As a predominantly male industry, long hours undertaken, and a vast amount of travel involved, it can’t be hard to imagine that mental health is an issue that employers need to make a priority. It’s no coincidence that divorce rates of industry professionals will be higher than the average, and the days spent away from family has to put can making professionals as most at risk of suffering from problems.
A simple internet search of high profile companies within the industry has a woefully lacking emphasis on mental health and the well-being of its staff. That’s not to say there aren’t companies doing good work, but more needs to be done. After all, a happy workforce is a productive one.
And I do have sympathy for employers. Most of the time those with mental health issues suffer in silence, so it’s not an easy issue to tackle. But a few simple guidelines and a strategy may go some way to helping your staff. There’s a wealth of information online from mental health charities, so be sure to take a look at charities including MIND and Rethink.
It is an issue that was once swept under the carpet and laughed off, but thankfully those days are over. As can making professionals we pride ourselves on being a tightknit and ‘community’ like industry.
So next time you see a friend or colleague and you think they’re a little off colour, just ask them if they’re ok. You never know, you may just save that person’s life…