It’s not easy to identify individuals who are dealing with mental illness in the workplace, especially because most people prefer to keep such issues to themselves. The problem is exacerbated by the tendency for colleagues to downplay signs of mental wellbeing by assuming one is just having a bad day. Contemporary ways of raising awareness seem to be having a positive effect, especially now that even celebrities are openly discussing their mental states, but the stigma remains.
To end this, employees and employers should build a culture where such issues are handled just like any other health concern. Creating a culture of caring can go a long way in promoting psychological and personal wellbeing since people will be comfortable sharing their stories. The following tips can help to improve mental health in the workplace.
Talk about it
Mental health is usually treated as a taboo topic in most, if not all, workplaces. The first step in approaching it is to discuss it whenever an opportunity presents itself, as opposed to ignoring or mentioning it passively in gatherings. Embed these discussions in the culture of the organisation, for example, by having specific days where employees converge to talk about it. This way, people are bound to understand that they are not alone.
Promote a work/life balance
The genesis of depression and anxiety in the workplace is overworking employees and denying them a life outside of the office. Unfortunately, this form of patronising leadership only ends up hurting the employees and the organisation in the long run. For workers to be productive, it is crucial that they have time for themselves and their families. Let them unwind and resume when they are fresh in mind and body.
Offer in-service counselling sessions
Having a therapist in the workplace can encourage employees to seek help. Here, they can learn about stress management, how to deal with depression and some of the activities which can help to keep mental illness away. Such initiatives can also end up saving the company a lot of money which could be incurred through, for example, absenteeism as a result of mental health issues.
Encourage mental health days off
Establishing mental health days off will give employers a chance to think about their mental health. Encourage them to talk to families and friends about it because only then can they really know what they are experiencing. Venting is an effective way of letting off issues that we tend to hold in. Through such efforts, people will be more conscious about the topic of mental wellbeing.
As an employer or colleague, show your support for people who are battling mental issues by making them understand there is a solution to it. Be available in case they need to talk about it but do not push them if they prefer not to share it at that time.
Mental illness is as serious as any other disease and should be treated as so. Employees and employers should look out for each other, in the effort to promote the mental wellbeing of all people in the workplace.