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Mental Health Strategy and Planning | Step 1: Neuroscience and The Nervous System in the workplace…

The way things are going at the moment, following the conversations around mental health and discovering the impact Coronavirus pandemic has had on people. New Mental Health Strategy 2021 – 2031 has been recently published in NI, setting the strategic direction for mental health for the next decade. MH has even been identified as a key issue for the private sector.

Taking a step back, we look at neuroscience and the nervous system in the workplace.

Why is it important?

What does it mean?

How does it affect our business?

The short answer is our nervous system is the primary component of the bodies ‘Affect Health’ and that is a big deal when it comes to people’s ability to cope with stress and conflict.

What is Affect Health? It’s the way the body communicates with the mind/brain.

The reason this is so important is all our emotional responses throughout our entire life are stored and logged within our autonomic nervous system it is like our personal big yellow storage of ‘emotional’ data.

Cutting edge neuroscience has discovered our information pathways are greater from ‘body to brain’ (bottom to top) at an 80% delivery, known as Afferent Fibres. Whereas the ‘brain to the body’ (top to bottom) only delivers 20% of the information; known as Effect Fibres.

So, if we were to focus more on peoples AFFECT Health and the role the Nervous System plays in our stress responses - we could create a greater level of calm and overall wellbeing in not only ourselves but in others. Somatic therapy (body to brain) is all about prevention, not cure.

NEWSFLASH: Affect Health is our Emotional Health! ….and we now know through new neuroscience discoveries the messages from the body to the brain create our behaviours, not the other way round so it correlates that our Emotional Health IS, in fact, our Mental Health and working to understand the root cause of mental health, starts with the body, not the mind and if we can achieve a better understanding and manageability of the nervous system, we have greater agency and control of our mental responses.

How does that affect business?

When people are stressed and struggling mentally, they will not call in sick and say they feel mentally unwell, there will be a myriad of cover-ups, the dog died, migraines, kids are sick and so on. EVERY business has staff members struggling with mental health and never know about it. But the absenteeism will be something very much known and recognised because long term sick or high staff turnover causes the business a loss.

Cost of mental health problems in the UK

The 2013 Chief Medical Officer’s report estimated that the wider costs of mental health problems to the UK economy are £70–100 billion per year – 4.5% of gross domestic product.

The economic and social cost of mental ill-health in England has grown in the last decade to almost £119 billion a year, according to an estimate published in July 2020 by the Centre for Mental Health.

Giving your staff access to these somatic tools which enable them to work with and understand Nervous System regulation will not only improve their physical and emotional wellbeing but more importantly, their mental wellbeing.

Productivity increases, absence decreases, and businesses thrive.

It’s a win-win, so you see understanding neuroscience and the nervous system really does matter in the workplace and it is time to invest in you, your staff and into the future. Please contact me if you need help with your organisations Mental Health Strategy.


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