According to the (WHO) world health organization, about 60% of the population are in the workforce. And among that, 60%, about 15%, are estimated to face mental health issues.
The main concern is that workplace awareness regarding these issues needs to be addressed.
Mental health is essential in day-to-day life; it is also important where you work and spend your maximum time. While working, you must always be alert and active; it is normal to get exhausted. But if you overexert yourself, it can lead to severe mental health issues. So it is important for any organization to promote mental health awareness at the workplace.
The first thing that needs to be understood is acknowledging the different mental health issues people face in the workplace.
Mental health issues in the workplace
Mental health awareness at the workplace advises you to be responsible, manage your time, constantly think creatively, participate in meetings or projects, and engage with clients. All this takes up a lot of energy. And if you over-exert yourself without taking a break, there’s a chance that you might suffer mental health issues like:
The primary cause of poor mental health at work is this. Deadlines, pressure from management or other coworkers, job uncertainty, long hours, and a high workload are all potential sources of stress.
Burnout affects the majority of workers at some point during their employment. Loss of vigor and enthusiasm, irritation, frustration, and a lack of contentment with one’s professional objectives and accomplishments are all symptoms of job burnout.
Problems at home, stress, and a sense of inadequacy or pointlessness, among other factors, can all contribute to depression. 7.1% of adults in the United States, or 17.3 million adults, have a serious depressive disorder, according to the (NIMH) National Institute of Mental Health.
Constant nervousness, low drive or extreme tiredness, regular sick leave and a decline in production, humor or conversation about suicidal ideas or plans, consistently skipping lunch and not eating or overusing drugs or alcohol. These can be some of the signs that may indicate that your employee might be undergoing depression.
4. Substance use disorder
Substances are frequently an easy way out for workers who are stressed, feel worthless or hopeless at work, or are dealing with any other problematic work-related issue. Alcohol, marijuana, and medications are the most frequently abused substances.
Because of the rewiring of the brain and changes in chemical balance caused by this mental condition, maintaining normalcy depends heavily on substances.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration data shows that 9.5 percent of working people have a substance use disorder.
Abuse of drugs or alcohol can result in poor judgment, missed deadlines or tasks, increased employee friction, and other issues.
- Social anxiety: Avoiding happy hours, having trouble approaching coworkers, or experiencing other interpersonal difficulties can all be signs of social stress in the workplace.
- Generalized anxiety: A worker may experience general anxiety if they frequently worry about their employment prospects, consistently about meeting deadlines or completing tasks, etc.
Concentration problems are a sign of practically all serious mental health problems. Bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and depression all have poor concentration levels and cause sudden shifts in focus.
Concentration problems are given, with a handful of these mental health conditions, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Poor concentration, imaginal outbursts, inability to concentrate, and restlessness are several mental health conditions characteristics. Employees suffering from these mental health conditions endure reduced productivity, poor decision-making, low morale, and human errors due to this loss of concentration.
6. Behavioral changes
Perhaps the earliest psychological signs of a mental health issue are changes in a person’s conduct. A depressed person going through a difficult moment may withdraw gradually or suddenly. People may become anxious or lose their patience due to the pressures of their jobs. Patients feel agitated, snarky, and prone to picking up disputes with coworkers.
Employees with bipolar disorder will frequently exhibit the most noticeable behavioral changes. An individual with bipolar illness experiences mood swings between manic and depressed states. The worker may appear excessively productive, highly creative, overly energized, and full of lofty ideas when experiencing manic episodes. Productivity may suffer, energy levels may be low, and innovative ideas may no longer be appealing when someone is depressed.
Benefits of mental health awareness in the workplace
A workplace needs to promote mental health awareness by implementing mental health policies, and activities, making the employees understand the benefits of mental health at the workplace. There are many benefits of mental health awareness at the workplace.
1. Increased productivity
One tends to be healthier when they are physically fit. The same is true of mental health.
Enhanced employee mental resilience to stress, thinking, decision-making, workflow, and interpersonal interactions at work are all benefits of raising mental health awareness in the workplace. These all contribute to higher productivity.
2. Increases supportive work environment
Every element of a person’s life can be impacted by mental diseases like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychosis. Some workers might not be aware of the impacts at work. Enhancing mental health awareness at the workplace can assist these workers in comprehending the seriousness of these conditions, which may result in a workplace with more kind and sympathetic people.
3. Reduces Mental Health Stigmatization
The topic of mental illness is rising in popularity worldwide. Due to the stigma attached to it, it is still rarely discussed in many workplaces.
Promoting mental health awareness in the workplace is one strategy to combat the lack of understanding contributing to this stigma. As employees gain knowledge, how it’s discussed may change as they realize that mental illness isn’t taboo.
13 Ways promoting mental health awareness at the workplace
‘How do you maintain mental health in the workplace?’ every employee should ask before joining any organization. There are various ways to promote and maintain mental health awareness in the workplace:
1. Mental health training sessions
Every level of a company needs to have mental health awareness in the workplace training,
This training includes,
- Educating staff about the warning signs and symptoms of mental illness so they can know when to seek treatment from a professional,
- teaching managers to spot the symptoms of mental illness so they may realize when to recommend appropriate care,
- workshops on mindfulness, meditation, and stress management,
- seminars on how to leverage the company’s mental health benefits,
- subjects, including workplace harassment, diversity, inclusion, etc.
2. Availability of a platform to discuss
Setting up a designated period for workplace conversations regarding mental health awareness in the workplace helps to spread the importance of the issue.
Every organization’s HR department should hold weekly meetings with its staff to discuss issues affecting the latter, individually and in groups. The conversation doesn’t have to occur in a formal setting. Make sure your workforce feels free to express their ideas.
Establishing a common discussion platform will foster a certain level of confidence between employers and employees. In turn, this would assist the former in resolving the issue before it arises. The discussion may occur during meditation sessions, outside in the open air, or relaxing areas.
3. Implementing mental health policies
If a company does not have mental health policies, how would it deal with the numerous problems?
A company loses out on a huge potential if it lacks a mental health policy.
How else could one-stop workplace prejudice, harassment, or the pervasive use of mental health stereotypes without an effective policy system?
Additionally, with sound policies, staff members will recognize the seriousness of the situation. Some people could struggle in silence because they lack the drive to speak up.
When stringent laws govern it, mental health awareness at the workplace can spread. In this approach, the whole company will treat the situation seriously.
4. Employee Assistance programs (EAPs)
An EAP is a work-based intervention program created to assist employees in resolving individual issues like:
Substance misuse or abuse, legal concerns, financial hardships, problems in providing for children or the elderly, obstacles in relationships, terrorizing incidents, etc.
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) provide these services at no cost, including assessments, brief counseling, referrals, and follow-ups. There are third-party EAP vendors to provide an EAP to employees or insurers whose plans offer an EAP.
5. Mental Health Activities
The United States observes Mental Health Awareness Month by engaging in various activities focused mainly on one specific issue. These initiatives disseminate the message while reflecting the theme in booklets, films, seminars, and branding on social media.
You might use this opportunity to promote mental health awareness in the workplace among your employees. Simply said, you need to indicate May on the company calendar. Encouragement to speak up is an excellent method to start participation from your staff. This will permanently remove the stigma associated with the subject.
Your employees will be reminded of the significance of mental well-being by receiving emails and notifications about the event and mentioning it in the corporate newsletter.
6. Making work flexible
The employees have a higher chance of maintaining a work-life balance that keeps them mentally healthy if they are given greater freedom to do their work on their terms.
Examples of flexible employment include adaptable working hours, completely remote or a combination of in-person and remote work, unrestricted or abundant PTO, reduced work week, and paid days for mental health.
7. Establishing Zero Tolerance Policy for Workplace Bullying
Bullying is a problem that doesn’t just affect kids in school. According to a 2019 survey, over four out of ten employees have encountered workplace bullying or harassment, making it a severe problem.
Establish a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment, ranging from intentional attitudes and stereotypes to physical contact.
8. Construct spaces that promote wellness
Employees can rest and decompress during midday breaks in designated quiet areas for such activities. It is also crucial to make it socially and culturally acceptable to use these locations for holidays. Managers and leaders can set the tone by promoting mental health awareness in the workplace.
Introducing quiet places to meditate, read a book, or sit with thoughts during a hectic day is essential and helps promote mental health awareness in the workplace.
9. Initiate mental health days
Another way to promote mental health awareness in the workplace is by introducing mental health days off.
A day off from all the stress and workload can increase productivity and prevent exertion and burnout. Mental health days are when you can reflect on your thoughts and work towards your emotional well-being.
10. Offer Insurances that cover mental health visits or treatment
Modern health insurance covers both physical and mental health issues.
To ensure that health plans give mental health care a priority, keep an eye out for the following:
Insurance that provides cover for mental health services includes policies and information like,
- no or minimal out-of-pocket expenses for mental health and addiction treatment,
- common mental health drugs, like those for depression and anxiety, have no or low out-of-pocket prices,
- a comprehensive list of in-network mental health specialists in employees or native languages who reflect the diversity of the workforce,
- good coverage for mental health providers outside of networks,
- cheap or free access to virtual mental health services apps, etc.
This is also a great way of promoting mental health awareness in the workplace.
11. Mental health self-assessment tools
Self-assessment tools offer tools and questionnaires to evaluate mental health issues and promote mental health awareness in the workplace.
Instead of offering a diagnosis, these tools aid in determining whether the employee may benefit from additional testing or support.
These tools include; mental health assessment manual, mood evaluation matrix, work-life balance assessment, questionnaire for evaluating present circumstances, online alcohol and drug assistance program, and online mental health assessment.
12. Mental health communication campaign
There is no such thing as excess communication when raising mental health awareness in the workplace.
Discussion on it, emailing people about it, holding conferences to discuss it, sharing it on social media, sending out flyers about it, inviting guests to speak on the topic, and creating a mental health website that makes all the business’ mental health offerings clear and makes it easier for people to access them.
Ensuring that employees have the availability of mental health resources and workshops in their native tongues. Ask staff what they require to feel that their mental health is being supported appropriately.
The stigma of mental illness decreases when you communicate more openly at work.
13. Adding signs and resources around the workplace
A significant difference can be made by doing something as easy as putting up signs and offering resources (such as pamphlets, phone numbers for programs, etc.) about mental health and how your firm is willing to support employees to promote mental health awareness in the workplace.
These were some ways to increase mental health awareness at the workplace. With the growing competition and workload, employees or employers commonly feel stressed and experience bad mental health days.
The critical step is to initiate mental health awareness programs to help create a better workspace. There are many benefits of mental health awareness in the workplace which will help both the employee and the employer in the long run.
We must know why mental health is essential and how to achieve good health. To learn about different aspects of mental health, click here.
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