2nd September 2018

Huge rise in people contacting The Migraine Trust for help with workplace issues

The Migraine Trust is launching a drive to promote how workplaces can be ‘Mindful of migraine’.

As Migraine Awareness Week begins (2-8 September), The Migraine Trust is launching a drive to promote how workplaces can be ‘Mindful of migraine’.

There has been a sharp rise in people seeking our help with workplace issues over the last year – a 64 per cent increase. People with migraine are struggling to work with employers that do not understand their condition and are not making reasonable adjustments for them. This is exacerbating their condition, with many having to leave their job as a result.

That is why The Migraine Trust is using this Migraine Awareness Week to launch a drive to promote how workplaces can be ‘Mindful of migraine’.

Mindful of migraine workplaces

By mindful of migraine, we mean for employers:

  • to be aware of the high numbers of people who get migraine, that it is very common and that there is a strong possibility that someone they employ might get migraine
  • to have an understanding that it is a complex neurological condition and that people can experience migraine very differently
  • to make reasonable adjustments once they become aware that they have an employee who gets migraine, such as considering flexible working practices and looking at how their physical environment can be adjusted to help prevent the triggering of a migraine

Highlighting how a supportive workplace can help someone with migraine, Sammy Ashby, deputy chief executive at SUDEP Action, describes how the epilepsy charity where she works – based at Wantage, Oxfordshire – helps her manage the condition:

“As part of the nature of my role, and the charity’s work with bereaved families, I have regular wellbeing sessions with my colleague, who is a trained counsellor.

“It is reassuring to know that they care about our health and if anything can be done to make sure work doesn’t impact on it to a significant degree.

“These sessions also give me a good opportunity to reflect on if work is perhaps impacting on my migraine, and talk about this in a confidential, non-judgemental space. Helping me come up with solutions to better manage my migraine at work. I can then speak to my line manager about anything which might help reduce the impact of my migraines.”

Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, explains what workplaces that are mindful of migraine means for people with the condition. She said:

“Workplaces being mindful of migraine won’t mean that people with migraine never struggle at work again, or that they won’t encounter issues at work because of migraine. But we believe it is an important step in helping people work with migraine.”

Help to make workplaces mindful of migraine

We have a toolkit, Migraine: Help at work toolkit, that provides general information for people with migraine, their colleagues, managers, trade unions, human resource departments and occupational health professionals about ways to manage migraine in the workplace.

We also have an advocacy service that supports people with migraine in their employment, as well as education and accessing healthcare. It can be contacted by calling 020 7631 6973 or online here.