Mental Health in the Workplace
posted: Oct. 23, 2020.
When we hear the term “wellness,” most of us think of physical wellness- eating healthy, being active, making sure we get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, etc. However, the definition of “wellness” has developed far beyond physical wellness, including emotional, financial, spiritual, and mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, about 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year. Mental illness shouldn’t be looked at any differently from other health issues, including within the workplace.
Work is one of the leading causes of mental health problems. The stigma that comes with mental health issues can be challenging to deal with in the workplace. Many people carry a subconscious feeling toward mental illness that can lead to serious workplace issues. Also, those suffering from mental health issues in the workplace might choose to keep their personal challenges to themselves because they fear being labeled as weak or incompetent to perform their job duties. This issue impacts the person with a mental health problem, their loved ones, and the workplace they are associated with.
Start the conversation about mental health issues within the workplace. The more it is talked about, the more accepted it will be. Creating an environment that feels safe for people allows them to be more open about issues they suffer from and fights against the ignorance and fear that prevents people from seeking the help they need.
Educate and train managers and employees on mental health issues and how to spot signs of stress, fatigue, anxiety, or depression. Providing learning opportunities that go over mental health issues, so employees have better knowledge about the subject. Don’t be afraid to have an open-door policy within the workplace so employees can share when they are going through a difficult time at home or feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes just talking about what is going on is enough to help get through the tough times.
Promote a healthy work environment
Our environment plays an essential role in our mental health, and promoting healthy well-being at work can prevent problems from worsening. High levels of stress can increase existing mental health problems, so tackling the causes of stress-related problems at work is an important step in prevention. Exceeding work hours, overworking, and skipping breaks can all add to stress levels. Establishing a healthy balance between work and personal life should be a priority. A few ideas that promote work-life balance could be offering a work from home policy, a discounted gym membership, and flexible hours to name a few. Employees have a life outside of the company walls, and the more you can help them balance all their obligations and responsibilities, the more productive and useful they’ll be at work.
Keeping employees happy and healthy should be a top priority at your workplace. It benefits everyone at all levels, whether you suffer from mental health or not. This is what keeps you going to help you reach your goals and get ahead of your competition.
Identify mental health problems
When do you know that the stress and sad feeling is more than just a part of a healthy life? Awareness and understanding are essential to identifying mental health. Many people suffer in silence because there is a lack of insight into what they are experiencing. Failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness can lead to years of unnecessary suffering. Take some time and learn about the early signs of mental illness. They range from problems with thinking, mood swings, social withdrawal, uncharacteristic behavior, and lack of personal care. Recognizing a couple of these symptoms doesn’t mean a person has a mental illness; however, alertness can be an essential push towards help.
In addition to identifying mental health problems, it is vital to be proactive for mental health. It should be treated like any other health concern. We are consistently encouraged to get our free flu shot, eat healthy, stop smoking, and so on. Why would be treating mental health any different?
We all face difficult times in life and could experience mental health issues at any time. Starting the conversation about mental health issues is the first step to acceptance within the workplace. Promote a supportive culture that is a safe space for employees to talk about what’s going on in their lives and a healthy work environment. Being proactive and ensuring employees have the support they need at work can be a big part of reducing mental health issues.