With the number of diagnosable conditions affecting mental note to affect one in every five Americans, it’s unfair to assume that mental health isn’t a national health problem. Looking at the numbers, every employer is affected because at least one of their employees could be affected, though the rest of the office may never find out or be made aware of the fact when it’s too late.
It is, therefore, important for employers to support their employees and make the workplace a safe place where people can talk about different mental health issues without fear of prejudice. Also, important to note is that despite the stigma associated with mental health issues and the mentality that expects individuals to get over it, mental health is too common to be ignored.
Among other reasons, discussing and addressing mental health issues is crucial because there’s an effective treatment for about 80 percent of cases reported.
So, even though the conditions that affect mental health don’t spring from workplace cultures, mental health illnesses need to be addressed.
Before we look at some of the things you can do to improve your employees’ mental health, here are some of the causes:
- Working long hours in a sedentary condition
- Inadequate sleep
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of social connections
- Substance abuse and misuse
Offering Mental Health Days or Leave of Absence
As complicated as mental health illnesses are, most of the time, affected persons only need time away from the workplace stresses. As the manager or the supervisor, you should make it easy for employees to come up to you and to ask for days off because they don’t feel mentally well.
While this is yet to take roots in many organizations, it’s an important step when embraced. However, if your workplace discriminates mental health matters, then you should know that the law offers some protection. The US Disabilities Act note that it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against employees with mental issues. That is: employees dealing with major depression, bipolar disorders, or post-traumatic stress.
You also need to know that you don’t have to make open your mental health illness diagnosis if you don’t want to.
Invest in Employees’ Wellbeing
The success of your business depends on the talents your team has acquired over the years not your clients. This means you should invest in their wellbeing. That said, will you be one of the companies that invest in employee wellbeing?
Though this appears as an extra expense for the company, you should think about it in terms of the returns your business reaps when your employees are working when at their best. Think of their productivity and the organizational structure you’ll build.
With that in mind, invest in programs that focus on the employees’ physical activity, their safety and health at the workplace, work-life balance, nutrition and healthy eating, and mental health.
Review your Company’s Psychosocial Risks
By psychosocial risks, we mean you should review your workplace’s occupational hazards. These hazards may affect your employee’s mental health and general wellbeing. Here, we refer to risk factors such as unmanageable and heavy workloads, setting unrealistic expectations, making drastic organizational changes, ambiguity in role allocated, low job satisfaction and low personal satisfaction, as well as the absence of recognition.
These factors also extend to poor work-life balance, workplace violence (harassment or bullying), interpersonal relations and lack of support at work.
Speaking about mental health issues openly
With stigma as the main problem surrounding mental health, it’s about time everyone speaks up about it. Since working as an uncontested divorce lawyer Toronto is hard enough, you need the workplace to be safe for you.
Anyone could be affected at any time, and you wouldn’t want to be bullied about it, would you? It is, therefore, essential for companies to create and run anti-stigma campaigns for mental health. This also means increasing access to information on mental health at work, to employers and employees.
By speaking about mental health, your level of authority notwithstanding, we normalize mental health and no one is treated differently just because of a mental illness affecting them in silence.
In an attempt to reduce mental health stigma, it’s essential to establish a good relationship between managers and all the people around them. Mental health stigma ceases being a problem when managers speak about it openly.
What is the role of individuals suffering from mental health illnesses in all this?
- Well, you can start by being passionate about yourself. You need to be gentle with yourself since being hard on yourself worsens the situation.
- You need a support system you can rely on at all times. This can be a colleague, a family member, friend therapist or your doctor.
- If possible, set a routine and stick to it.
- You also need to take short breaks in quiet places when overwhelmed. Practicing deep breathing or meditation helps.
- You can also channel your thoughts through journaling. With this, you can track your behavior and mood changes, identifying triggers and managing the illness better.
- Finally, recognize your early warning signs.