Mental Health In The Workplace.

Intro:

Mental health encompasses the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive well-being of an individual. According to the World Health Organisation, it is a state of well-being where an individual recognizes his abilities, is able to cope with the daily stress of life, and be a contributor to the community he belongs in. Thanks to social media and other platforms, a lot of awareness has been raised in recent years concerning mental health, the most common mental illnesses, symptoms, preventive measures, and care. It is no more shrouded in silence and stigma like it used to be, making it possible for people to recognize pitfalls, symptoms and seek help when needed.

For a lot of us, the time spent at the office represents a major bulk of our time and lives; it is where we socialize and build most relationships. Both employees and employers have a role to play in fostering a work community where everyone can thrive, feel safe and included. Good management can never be complete without building a culture that contributes positively to the mental health of staff. When people enjoy good mental health, they are able to make full use of their potential and skills to contribute, significantly, to the growth of the organization and community at large.

A lot of learning and awareness still needs to be done as regards the recognition and improvement of mental health in the workplace. It is customary to see most companies emphasise more on physical health, forgetting that the mental health of their employees is just as important. Especially considering the damaging effects a deterioration of mental health can have. According to a 2019 survey on mental health in the workplace, 60% of employees admitted that they had experienced some symptoms of a mental health condition in the past one year. As a conscientious boss, it is important that you pay attention to the mental well-being of your employees.

Mental Health Issues:

Today, the most common mental health issues that people face are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-natal Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia etc.

Why You Should Prioritize Your Employees’ Mental Health:

Globally, studies show that more than 200 million people suffer from the most common mental health disorder, depression. A lot of individuals, irrespective of age are continually faced with the daily pressure of finding balance and peace in a high-pressure and fast-paced world where things are constantly in motion. Some employees show up to work daily in this state of mind; sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and unable to reach their peak potential-wise. The productivity losses accrued for organizations are enormous. Hence, it is crucial to provide a workplace that is committed to the mental well-being of everybody. The benefits of doing this include:

Benefits:

Increased Productivity:

When employees are unable to find the motivation to work or when the states of their minds are affected, productivity at work is greatly affected. With the right environment and support system, work productivity is significantly increased.

Reduction in Absenteeism:

Sometimes when employees call in sick, they are not sick physically but feeling burnt out mentally. With a better workplace that does wonders for their mental health, people look forward to coming to work more and cases of absent days are reduced.

Heightened Level of Trust:

When your employees are made to feel that they matter to the organization and not just for their contribution to the bottom line, they tend to strive to work even harder and give their utmost best, thereby creating a mutually beneficial workplace.

Reduction in Turnover:

With the right support system in place, for employees that are dealing with one mental issue or the other, the probability of quitting and losing valuable workforce is reduced. This saves the company cost on recruiting and onboarding new employees.

Ways To Improve The Mental Health Of Your Employees:

Pay Attention and Offer Support:

It is the responsibility of every line manager, human resources, and departmental head to go beyond the perfunctory ‘How are you?’ especially when it is noticed that an employee is behaving differently. These differences in behavior include, but are not limited to, low moods, demotivation, irritability, etc. Even when they assure you they are fine, remind them that the company is there for them if they need help.

Make Mental Health Resources Easily Accessible:

Make mental health resources available and easily accessible to all staff members. Ensure these resources are up-to-date and of relevance and practical use to employees.

  • Ensure Confidentiality and Anonymity are Prioritised: There might be a lot more awareness and openness about mental health now but it does not take away the self-consciousness and reluctance that a lot of people might feel discussing such issues especially when it is related to addiction and trauma. Create a safe place where employees are allowed to seek help confidentially and anonymously if they so wish. Reassure them that their use of mental health resources will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
  • 4. Build a Culture: In this part of the world especially, there is still a lot of stigmas attached to mental health issues, hence forcing a lot of people to struggle silently. This culture of silence can be broken in your organization by talking about these issues openly, making others realize they are not alone, and making available materials that point to that fact. Put in the effort to keep the conversation going about mental health. It should not just be a one-off topic but one to be revisited often and incorporated into wellness programs and outreaches designed to sensitize and raise awareness.
  • Include Everybody: Management taking an active part in mental health programs organised in the workplace helps to set a good precedence. When every manager and top executive gets involved, then your employees will genuinely believe that you are taking the issue seriously and be encouraged.
  • Innovative Strategies and Policies: Revamp your organizational policies to include strategies that keep the office environment non-toxic, creative, and takes into account the individuality and needs of your employees.
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