Raise Awareness and End the Stigma Towards Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health plays a significant role in the workplace. However, mental health and diseases are sadly not frequently discussed or handled, partly because they are harder to perceive or explain. Employees also experience hesitation in discussing mental health and illnesses, especially when their employment is on the line and managers may feel underqualified or uncomfortable discussing something as serious. Therefore, while mental health is an important issue, it is also tricky.
Why Is It Important?
Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, are seeing rising numbers both nationally and globally. Part of this is due to increasing awareness of it and accessibility to various resources that are proven to be helpful, such as psychologists and psychiatrists. However, the more significant factor is the environment we find ourselves in, where negative stressors are making themselves more present than before. An estimated 792 million people globally suffer from different forms of mental health disorders. But despite this high rate, mental health illnesses are still highly overlooked.
Even if the cause of mental illnesses is not work-related, it can have crucial impacts on a person’s performance at work, from decreased production levels to a sudden change in communication skills.
Untreated mental illnesses can lead to higher rates of disability and unemployment, resulting in hired and trained workers who are no longer capable of doing their jobs. And finding, recruiting, and training new employees will take more time and resources.
How to Create an Advocate Out of the Workplace
While there is difficulty in addressing a mental health disorder, it is not difficult to put whatever resources you have into good use. These actions do not have to be done over the top but simply and gradually.
For Employers and Managers:
It is a costly thing not to invest in employees’ mental health. While money is not the ultimate motivator in the scheme of things, it is said that the global economy loses $1 trillion yearly in productivity due to different mental health issues. Employers may therefore boost their employees’ productivity and retention by proactively addressing mental health issues in the workplace and developing a strategic investment plan in mental health treatment for their employees.
Increased employee support and reduced stigma associated with mental health issues result from a rise in public knowledge of mental health illnesses and their effects on organizations. There will undoubtedly be a reduction in employees’ reluctance when discussing whatever issues they have if mental health is presented as an appropriate and even essential conversation topic. Furthermore, it is crucial to teach team leaders how to have healthy, open-minded conversations with their team members about mental health.
Build Your Culture Around Support
Employees will not open up about whatever mental health struggles they are dealing with unless you promote a work culture that observes acceptance and support. Employees will become more likely to seek the help they require to become top achievers if they have a supportive environment amongst their colleagues and a place where open communication is always encouraged.
Provide Mental Health Resources
Companies that do not offer mental health resources and education are not establishing a supportive workplace for employees struggling with mental illness. Two excellent approaches to providing resources to employees are making mental health self-assessment tools easily accessible to all employees and emphasizing assistance options available through insurance.
When employees inform their employers about mental health awareness education and resources to meet their needs and interests, a huge difference can be made. Additionally, to reduce bias, employees can share personal experiences with trusted colleagues or supervisors when the time is appropriate. Employees who participate in charitable activity and mental health advocacy outside the company can also educate and assist their colleagues.
Become Involved and Supportive
Employees also need to play their role, participate, and learn to reap the benefits of mental health support. Employees need to develop open-mindedness towards the experiences and feelings of their co-workers and observe behaviors that promote stress management and mental health support.
As long as employees and managers can team up and work together to create a flexible yet solid solution, they can tackle any challenge and needs they come across. These tips serve as a good start for employees and managers to have healthy, honest conversations within their organizations. Regardless of the challenges and needs a business may face, the ultimate goal is to establish a workplace filled with people that can assure each other that whatever they are going through is perfectly valid and that it can be conquered together.