Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Mental health is something we all have. When we enjoy good mental health, we have a sense of purpose and direction, the energy to do things we want to do, and the ability to deal with challenges that happen in our lives.
The impact of poor mental health has severe effects for employees – including increased staff turnover, sickness absence due to depression, burnout and exhaustion, decreased motivation and lost productivity. Work is a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time, where we get our income, and often where we make friends. Having a fulfilling job can be good for your mental health and general wellbeing. A toxic work environment can be corrosive to our mental health. Mental health is something we all have.
Having good mental health, you can:
- Make the most of your potential
- Cope with what life throws at you
- Play a full part in your relationships, your workplace, and your community
In normal circumstances, we all have tough times when we feel low, stressed, or frightened. Usually, those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into anxiety or depression. Raising awareness of potential mental health issues in the workplace is part of fostering an inclusive workplace, where people feel able to bring their whole selves to work.
Strategies for Managing Mental Health in the Workplace
#1 Look at the Issue
The first step is looking at the issues. Your company needs to acknowledge the problem, and then thoroughly examine it. Assess how these issues can affect your employees and their performance. Your company needs to learn about the subject before it can teach employees about it.
#2 Examine your Culture
Use your understanding of your company’s culture to shape your mental health program. It will recognize what employees typically respond to, and how to reach them.
#3 Educate Employees
Educate employees on ins and outs of mental health. It helps to increase awareness of potential mental health issues affecting co-workers and even themselves. Education can also contribute to removing the stigma around mental illness.
#4 Train Managers
Leadership needs to be educated similarly to all other employees, but their education should go a step further. Managers need to be trained on how to:
- Recognize employees suffering from a mental illness,
- Talk with staff about mental health,
- Work with and accommodate employees suffering from a mental illness.
Management needs to understand how much mental illness can affect both the individual and the business.
#5 Encourage Treatment
Actively encourage your employees to seek and receive treatment for any mental illness. Provide them with information and support to get treated. Offer employees a free mental health screening.
#6 Support Staff
Make sure employees, throughout the organization, are working to help colleagues who suffer from a mental illness. Organizations can support employees with mental illness by:
- Altering their role,
- Changing their environment — offer flexible work options
- Monitoring and managing workloads — if employees are regularly working overtime, or taking work home, you may need to address resource or staffing issues.
- Prevent bullying and discrimination — foster an environment of respect, and create a formal and informal complaint handling process.
#7 Keep Track
Make sure that your business is constantly collecting and tracking data related to your mental health program. Begin collecting data immediately. Without a baseline of information, you won’t be able to accurately measure your results with the data you collect after you implement the program.
During times like this, the mental health and wellbeing of your employees should be a priority for any company as we are all experiencing moments of uncertainty and learning how to adjust to working from home and other lifestyles. In order for your employees to be happy and successful within your company, it’s important for you to demonstrate how much your care is and that the support is there!