Mental health at work

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Mental health at work

Post by sansarag »

The vast amount of individuals on social networks, particularly Twitter and Twitch, conversing about Workplace Mental Health Programs keeps on growing weekly. What are your thoughts on Workplace Mental Health Programs?

One of the easiest first steps towards improving the mental health of your workforce is to discuss with them issues that might affect their wellbeing. These may or may not be purely work related. For example, sometimes people don't know that making healthy choices, like eating a balanced diet, taking exercise and having a sensible work-life balance, can protect their mental health in the same way that it does their physical health. We need to de-medicalize discussion around mental health because the most important factors are the preventative role of line managers and good people management. It’s important to note that someone experiences a mental illness, not that they’re suffering from a mental illness. You, hopefully, wouldn’t say that someone is suffering from diabetes, but rather, that they have diabetes. To say that someone is suffering from mental illness stigmatizes it further and makes it seem as though it’s the entirety of who they are, which is not the case. Clinical screenings from mental health professionals that provide feedback and clinical referrals when appropriate. The effort of seeking evaluation and treatment can otherwise be a barrier. Policies for employee mental health are explicitly linked to the organization’s mission and values. Organizational goals are aligned to promote employee mental health and hold supervisors accountable for a mental health-friendly workplace. Job burnout shouldn’t be taken lightly and can lead to physical health problems and depression. Employees experiencing burnout stress may struggle with exhaustion leading to a lack of focus, cynicism, irritability or detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. But WHO also found that for every $1 spent on treating common mental health concerns, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. Mental illness can have a big impact on the way we work. With one in five Canadians affected by a mental illness, the economic impact in Canada is estimated at $51 billion and mental health claims rank in the top three of long-term disability claims. Statistics like these prove there’s a real need to foster mental health in your workplace, both for your business and the personal well-being of your employees. The last decade has seen the rise of megacorporations around the world – companies who have hit unprecedented economic heights, providing countless jobs to the global working population. However, amidst this incredible progress and productivity, one glaring issue appears to have taken a bit of a backseat – mental well-being. When we say mental health, we’re talking about the psychological and emotional wellbeing of someone. A positive mental state of mind is just as important as staying fit. Although the two are separate, they go hand in hand in ensuring we remain healthy throughout life. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as managing employees with mental health issues should be welcomed in the working environment.

Strengths And Limitations

Wellbeing is an essential part of productivity in the workplace. Everyone has mental health on a spectrum that varies greatly throughout their lives and organisations should increasingly focus on ensuring people have good mental wellbeing if they want them to be happy and healthy and productive in the workplace. Unplanned absence is one of the most common early warning signs of mental ill health. Employees with mental health conditions may have increased rates of unplanned absence. Seek to understand the reasons for the unplanned absence, such as ability to attend, motivation to attend and barriers to attend work. This will help you to work with the employee to support and improve attendance. A culture of self-acceptance can help support individual employees suffering from mental health issues to overcome their reticence about disclosing their situation. Similarly, creating a culture of awareness can encourage employees to support colleagues who might be struggling. Employers are in a great position to challenge stigma and prejudice throughout the organisation and to get mental health on the agenda with senior leaders. Poor mental health not only exacts a high toll on workforce health and well-being, it also negatively impacts productivity. The costs of depression and other mental health disorders are often underestimated because the indirect costs such as work absenteeism and poor performance at work (presenteeism) are costlier than the direct costs associated with medical care and prescription drugs. Subjects such as workplace wellbeing ideas can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.

Employers can use health risk assessments (HRAs) and/or biometric screenings to evaluate employee health and well-being. HRAs are voluntary assessments that rely on employee self-reporting of medical conditions and risk factors related to tobacco use, physical activity, diet and mental health. In turn, employers leverage de-identified and aggregated data from these assessments to implement health programs and measure improvement Potential workplace triggers for distress include people working long hours and not taking breaks and unrealistic expectations or deadlines. The symptoms of poor mental health can be emotionally, mentally and physically debilitating and negatively impact work performance, resulting in lost income and contributing to absenteeism and presenteeism (poor performance while at work). Comorbid conditions including heart disease, obesity and diabetes can exacerbate these factors. Employees have both body and mind, and your company’s health insurance should take both into account. Some policies don't cover mental illness. Make sure that yours does. Providing better mental health benefits has been shown to have a high ROI for employers. It’s OK to talk about mental health. Sometimes people think that mental health is a private issue that should not be raised or discussed. This is not true. As a manager, your role is to respond to the early warning signs by asking the individual if they are OK and offering support. Discussing ideas such as employers duty of care mental health is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Not making a decision can be because an employee is scared of speaking out. Mental health is a fundamental asset for individuals, communities and organisations. Protecting and improving mental health is vital for keeping staff working well, helping those who have taken sick leave to return to work successfully and, of course, for retaining and attracting talent. Often during trying times, employees need help with coping skills, managing stress, and building up resilience. Strengthening their overall mental fitness is important for them to be both happy individuals, but also productive contributors to your team. With a national conversation around mental illness on the rise—and knowledge that over 18% of adults in the United States experience some form of anxiety disorder—it’s no surprise that workplaces are starting to join the conversation. When having mental health conversations with team members at work, be ok if they don’t want to discuss their mental health with you as their manager. For employers not investing in wellbeing initiatives, workplace wellbeing support can be a difficult notion to comprehend.

If people are operating at optimum wellness, if they are feeling good and feeling healthy, they’re going to be more engaged. Individuals blossom in supportive environments. Teams are at their most creative when they are fully engaged. They will enjoy going the extra mile. Promoting health and preventing harm to mental health and wellbeing is important because it’s the smart thing to do: promoting mental health and preventing harm makes good business sense for a high performing organisation. and perceptions and what is actually happening in the workplace. This means that employees often do not get the help they need to maintain a fulfilling and productive working life, and some line managers are frustrated by the lack of support to do what they know is right. Raising awareness and promoting discussion of mental health and wellbeing drives engagement, helps to overcome prejudice and means that employees will be more likely to disclose issues sooner. There is a strong business imperative for taking a caring, supportive approach to employee health and wellbeing, and also for recognising differences in individual needs. An opinion on how to manage an employee with anxiety is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.

Mental Health Is Something We All Have

Creating a workplace culture that supports mental health and enables people to seek help when they need it is important for all organisations. Stigmas are often subtle or used casually in conversation at work, which makes them difficult to perceive. For instance, most employees have, at one point or another, heard a co-worker refer to a mental health condition negatively or in the wrong context. In fact, even the term "mental health" all too often has a negative connotation. This stigmatization creates a work environment in which mental health is not openly discussed, for fear of judgment. Employers need to create safe spaces where their employees feel comfortable talking about mental health and wellbeing, both good and bad experiences. Culture is hugely important, but it’s also important that workplaces have the support structures and initiatives in place. Every workplace is different and different teams may need different things, therefore it is vital that employers listen to their employees and understand what works best for them Check out extra facts about Workplace Mental Health Programs on this Health and Safety Executive page.

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