In terms of work, a stable and secure job is good for your proper well being and mental health.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health can be defined as the way we think, handle and act to the different situations which we come across in life. The situations can be of different types or kinds.
Mental health issues affect millions of Americans every year. According to Bradley University’s infographic Mental Health in America, 18.1% of adults in the United States experienced mental health challenges.
Workplaces might wonder, how is that their problem? Why should they be concerned about the employee mental health issues that they are dealing with in their free time? The fallout of mental health challenges, unfortunately, is not confined to an employee’s personal time.
Working with Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can affect an individual’s professional life. Depression and anxiety can lead to:
- Increased employee absenteeism.
- A dip in employee productivity.
- Loss of employee (for a variety of reasons) and the need to begin the expensive rehiring process.
How to Support Mental Health at Work:
The main reasons for having mental health problems are due to circumstances or situational work issues. Moreover, when working, even a negative work environment can be harmful to our mental health. Even toxic coworkers are also one of the reasons that harm your mental health.
Disturbed mental health will negatively affect us in whatever we do, be it a personal or professional level. Good mental health helps you think positively and act in the right direction for better purposes.
Some of the advantages of possessing good mental health are, you will be able to
- Face any situation in a better way
- Make use of your potential in the right way
- Be successful in personal as well as professional front
What are Mental Health Problems?
Our life doesn’t go as planned and it is same for almost everyone. Life throws upon several challenges which sometimes become tough to handle. Such a situation surely leads to a mental health issue which can have a very negative impact.
The most common mental health issues are anxiety and depression and there are many factors that trigger them. Some of them are
- Physical illness
- Childhood trauma
- Discrimination of any type etc
A mental health problem can be a major issue for distress and depression in one’s life. This brings in hindrances on both personal and professional life. Moreover, anybody can be affected by this mental health issue.
As per a survey done in England, 1 out of every 6 people is affected by this mental health problem. Also longer mental health problem can be even more dangerous as it can lead to even suicides.
How Do I Recognize a Mental Health Problem?
The best way to deal with the mental health issue is to identify it in the earlier stages itself so that the right steps can be taken to overcome it. Some of the symptoms and signs to identify mental health problem are
- Preventing you to move on in life
- Impacting the lives of others connected to you
- Mood swings for longer periods
- Having thoughts that lead to suicides
Dealing with a Mental Illness:
The best way to overcome mental health problem is self-care which majority of the people ignore. Self-care keeps you away from all type of mental issues like anxiety, depression or pressure, etc.
Here are a few best ways to cope up with mental health issues
- Share your feelings
- Ask help if needed
- Being active
- Take breaks in between
- Eat healthily
- Nurture your passions
- Drink sensibly
- Accept your uniqueness
- Be connected
- Caring others is a good trait
Mental Health at Work:
Due to the effect, mental health issues have on employee’s professional lives, businesses should consider implementing a few tactics to encourage employees to remain in good mental health in the workplace.
Check out 9 potential tactics you can utilize to potentially safeguard your employees and businesses from the fallout of lingering mental health issues in the workplace.
Health Insurance With Good Mental Health Policies:
An easy, investment is to provide health insurance that has good policies to help employees who need mental health treatment. The sooner the worker’s health improves, the sooner he or she will return to peak productivity.
Individuals who have insurance are 25.2% more likely to seek treatment. If you can afford to invest in insurance for your employees, it can be a stellar investment on this front alone.
Offer PTO to Help Employees during Sick Days:
PTO can aid employees who need to either take off work to see a doctor or simply a mental health day to re-calibrate their brain. If an employee needs the day off to solve mental health productivity problems, it’s in the company’s interest to give them that option.
The fact that the employee might not be able to afford it, could prevent employees from taking that time off and solving their issues in a timely manner.
Invest in a Gym Membership Perk:
Studies have found, exercise can be an effective way to relieve and ward off depression. Office workers especially are sedentary creatures that often don’t exercise as much as they should.
Partially or fully funding employee’s gym memberships could decrease the chances of productivity loss due to stress or depression. The membership will encourage employees to create a regular exercise routine.
Flexible (Work With Employees):
Be flexible with employees who experience anxiety, high levels of stress, or depression. Give managers and human resources the power to allow mental health days. Consider taking the flexibility a step further by allowing human resources to work with the employee to create a work schedule and environment that will work for them.
If the employee cannot work effectively due to high stress or anxiety created by the work environment, consider allowing the employee to work where they feel the most productive until they have worked with a psychologist to learn anxiety and stress coping techniques.
Once they have their anxiety or stress under control, you can re-integrate them into the normal workforce.
Firm Anti-Bullying Rules:
It’s best if HR and management don’t shrug off reports of workplace bullying. The phrase, sticks, and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me, isn’t actually true. Physically and verbal bullying can do short-term and long-term harm.
Workplace bullying and depression are unfortunately linked. According to Medical Daily, 49% of people who have been bullied reported a diagnosis of depression. If left unchecked, the bullying and the mental health fallout for the workplace could easily lead to high turnover, low productivity, and lost innovation.
HR should take reports of bullying seriously. HR should investigate any reports of bullying promptly. They should interview the individual who reported the incident, talk to witnesses, obtain any evidence, and once the information has been collected to decide if disciplinary action is required.
If no disciplinary action is required, you might want to at least attempt to move the affected employee to a new location where they will interact less with the individual who allegedly bullied them.
Encourage Employee Interaction:
Humans aren’t robots. We need the occasional moment of casual conversation to maintain good mental health and ward off stress. Beyond the stress relief that friendships can allow, individuals who have friends at work are more likely to love the company they work for. That can increase employee retention or encourage past employees to remember the company fondly.
Allow Employee Free Time:
Don’t expect employees to always remain on duty (even when technically off duty). The internet and smartphones have made it possible for employers to demand that employees always be available to answer questions and take calls outside of the official workday.
Employees need that time to recoup from the stress of the workday.
Expecting employees to always answer emails (even after work hours) leads to extended periods of increased stress. The fallout from stress-related mental and physical health issues can outweigh the benefit from immediate answers to emails from management.
Teach Stress Relief Strategies:
If the workforce feels unduly stress (not all stress can be eliminated from any job), consider having HR, managers, or an outside agency teach employees stress relief techniques. The better-equipped employees are to handle stress, the healthier they will be.
If employees need to take a few moments every once in a while to utilize any of the techniques, management should allow them at that time. (As long as it’s reasonable and leads to increased productivity after).
Business productivity is dependent on the productivity of employees. Employee’s productivity, unlike robots or machinery, is highly dependent on their positive mental health and work. Stress, anxiety, or depression in the workplace can all lead to dips in productivity, innovation, and attendance. That can affect the company’s financial success.
Employer Checklist for Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces:
The workplace environment holds a pivotal role in dealing with mental health issues. So it is the duty of the employer to maintain a healthy work environment for their employees.
Here we have provided a few tips on how to maintain a positive and mentally healthy work environment
- Maintain well being and good mental health as prime factors
- Treat your employees as assets to the organization
- Always maintain a healthy relationship with your employees
- Do not encourage any type of discrimination
- Should take strict procedures for any type of harassment issues
- Setting up mentoring programs for developing skills of employees
- Manage the openness and value of culture and diversity
- Provide growth opportunities for employees
Companies should try to adopt policies that create an environment that doesn’t lead to an increase in employee stress, anxiety, and depression. And they might consider implementing perks that prevent and alleviate mental health issues. Your company and your employees will thank you.