Mental health is an essential part of an individual’s overall well-being, yet it remains one of the most neglected areas of health care. In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of mental health and the impact it has on individuals in the workplace. However, despite the progress that has been made, there is still much work to be done.
For many people, discussing mental health in the workplace can be difficult due to the stigma that still surrounds the subject of mental illness. Managers and leaders need to play a crucial role in creating an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health and seeking support. But even those who do understand about mental health in the workplace may still prioritise the needs of the business over the needs of their employees. This attitude and view towards mental health can have a detrimental effect on employees, leading to increased stress levels, decreased job satisfaction, and decreased productivity.
In this article, I’m going to write about why it’s essential for managers and other leaders in the workplace to change their attitudes and views on mental health, the benefits of prioritising mental health, the consequences of ignoring it, and practical steps that can be taken to create a culture of support and compassion for employees.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” — Brené Brown
As someone who has struggled with mental health issues in the workplace, I understand first-hand the impact it can have on your overall well-being. The workplace can be a stressful and demanding environment, which can lead to burnout, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It’s important to recognise that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and taking care of your mental well-being should always be a top priority.
What do I mean about mental health in the workplace? Well, I am referring to an individual’s psychological well-being, which includes their ability to manage stress, maintain positive relationships with colleagues, and perform daily tasks efficiently. Unfortunately, mental health issues can arise due to several factors, such as an overwhelming workload, a negative workplace culture, a lack of support, or an imbalance between their work and personal life.
It’s important to acknowledge that medication and therapy are not silver bullets when it comes to mental health issues. While they can be incredibly helpful tools in managing symptoms, they are not cures in and of themselves.
In my own experience, therapy and medication have been essential in helping me manage my anxiety, OCD, and panic disorder. They’ve given me the tools and skills to recognise my triggers, manage my symptoms, and work through the underlying issues that contribute to my mental health struggles. But they haven’t “cured” me – I still have bad days, and I still have to actively work to keep my mental health in check.
And yet, despite the fact that mental health issues are incredibly common and can have a profound impact on our ability to work and function in daily life, there is still a stigma around seeking help. In many workplaces, mental health is still viewed as a weakness, something to be ashamed of and hidden away. Employees who struggle with mental health issues may be seen as less reliable or less capable, or may be passed over for promotions or opportunities.
This attitude is not only harmful to individual employees, but it’s also detrimental to the business as a whole. When employees are struggling with mental health issues, their productivity and job satisfaction can suffer. They may take more sick days or struggle to meet deadlines. They may be more prone to making mistakes or have difficulty collaborating with others.
It’s time for employers to change their attitudes and views on mental health. Rather than seeing mental health issues as a weakness or something to be hidden away, they should view them as a natural part of the human experience. They should prioritise the mental health of their employees by providing resources and support, such as mental health days, access to therapy, and employee assistance programs.
It’s not just the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it’s also good for business. Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be productive, engaged, and loyal to their employers. By prioritising mental health in the workplace, employers can create a culture of openness and understanding that benefits everyone involved.
But it’s not just about providing resources and support. Managers also need to change their attitudes and views on mental health. They need to recognise that mental health issues are common and that employees who are struggling are not weak or incapable. They need to make employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health and seeking help when they need it.
Of course, there are challenges to creating a culture of mental health in the workplace. It requires buy-in from all levels of the organisation, and it may take time to change deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs. But the benefits are worth it. By prioritising mental health, managers can create a more compassionate and supportive workplace, where employees feel valued and empowered to do their best work.
I just want to finish by saying that promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace is essential to ensure that employees are healthy and productive. We need to break down the barriers and stigma attached to mental health issues and create a work environment that promotes openness, and understanding. With the right resources, education, and support, we can create a better and healthier work environment for everyone. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Let us work together to create a brighter and healthier future for ourselves and those around us.