The importance of mental health is increasing in the modern era. Mental health at a workplace is also incredibly important, especially given how much time we all spend there. A fulfilling role at work is crucial in allowing us to develop a positive sense of identity, while simultaneously providing us with a source of income. Work provides us with the opportunity to develop friendships and build communication. We are able to connect with other like-minded people and make contacts that can help us further down the line. Work allows us to develop our skills, grow as people and provides us with tangible targets and goals.
At times work can also make us feel stressed and under pressure – these feelings can bleed from our work life into our personal life. This stress can cause mental health problems like anxiety and depression. You might be surprised to learn how many people in the workplace suffer from mental health problems. Mental health problems affect not only performance at work but overall contentment of employees in the workplace too.
Karen Warr, a health writer at Britstudent and Writemyx once said,
Being management supportive of mental health problems is key – being aware that performance-related concerns are not always strictly that a person is making mistakes or struggling with the job
The employee may feel mentally unhealthy, in which case employers and employees alike should focus on creating an environment conducive for achieving positive mental health at work.
Here are some key examples of some things employers and employees can do to achieve good mental health in the workplace!
As an Employer:
1. Create Positive Team Morality
First and foremost, an employer should make their employees feel rewarded and valued for doing good work and appreciate their hard work. Recognition is a powerful method of motivating workers and goes miles in making them feel like a real member of a team. Telling employees they’ve done well, and celebrating their successes, is beneficial for both the workplace and employees.
Margaret Cousins once said,
Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary
2. Recognize the Importance of Mental Health
As an employer, treating workforce mental health as a necessity, rather than an addition or excuse, is incredibly important. Lead from the top and set a positive example by crafting a mental health strategy. This may be by promoting the mental and physical well-being of employees, assessing workplace stressors, and organizing related support channels. For example, bringing in mental health experts who can train your team on how to deal with mental health issues via seminars or workshops.
Doing this not only provides workers with free training and healthy coping mechanisms but opens up lines of communication into the workplace. It provides employees with a positive work environment, allowing them the ability to cope with any mental health problems without fear of being judged, or worse – fired.
Overall, recognizing the importance of mental health in the workplace allows your workers to strengthen positive social connections, increase empathy for fellow co-workers, and allows managers to understand their workers more.
A supportive environment is crucial!
As an Employee:
1. Ask For Help When You Need It
Edward Pratt, a blogger at 1daytowrite and Nextcoursework said,
Ask for help when you need it, none of us are invincible! If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious, do ask your employer for help in whatever area you are struggling in. You should be well-versed in employee help programs too, which are always confidential, free and can be accessed through your HR service
If you are struggling with your mental health, be sure to get medical advice from a professional. They may refer you to a counsellor or a specialist.
2. Take Care of Yourself.
Remember, only you can help yourself so it is incredibly important that you take care of yourself. Drink sensibly, eat well, exercise, and sleep enough. The benefits of these small lifestyle changes affect us immensely and ensure we are mentally healthy.
Also, remember to take a break when you need one. Even a small break during the workday, weekend, or week off can help! Use your break to work on a hobby, explore a new part of town, listen to a podcast, etc.
Take advantage of your mental health days (and don’t be afraid to call them that!). If you are facing any stress or have any work-related tasks, it’s okay to take time off for yourself. You are more important! If you do choose to take time off from work, take a real break! Be sure not to involve yourself in your work during your time off. If you find you can’t take a rest, you might have to re-examine your relationship with your workload.