It is a myth that people with mental health problems
can’t work, with the right support people with mental health problems perform vital roles in workplaces across the country. The number of people who experience from anxiety, stress and depression at work has risen from a quarter to a third over the past five years.
The workplace is the most important environment to discuss mental health and illness, yet it is the last place we expect to hear about it. This can be down to the stigma that mental health holds when it comes to the working environment. Employers now have the opportunity to change this fear regarding mental health at the workplace. Roughly 85% of employee’s mental health conditions are undiagnosed or untreated. Addressing mental health issues in the workplace and investing in mental health care for workers, employers can increase productivity and employee retention.
The first place to begin when tackling the mental illness is to break the stigma. Not everyone is quick to open up and be honest about there mental health struggle especially when it comes to the workplace but this can be made easier, by not sweeping it under the rug, and becoming compassionate about tragedies caused by the stigma. In other words, we could break the stigma by becoming mental health advocates.
“There are still a lot of people who believe mental illness is a character rather that something psychological. They believe if you really wanted to fix this you could do it” – Peter Cappelli
Be aware of your words. Educate yourself and others as well as supporting those in need. This is essential when people want to view their mental health issues in a positive way, they need encouragement and acceptance in all parts of their life. Inconsistencies or an absence of positive rhetoric in one environment can make it harder to fight the stigma of mental illness.
While most business leaders would never step over an employee suffering a heart attack, those same leaders often ignore employees who are clearly experiencing a mental health problem. Unfortunately, ignoring mental health issues only furthers the stigma. Educating managers on how to address employee mental health can ensure that employees feel safe to talk about their concerns and it will increase the likelihood that they’ll access available resources.
” There is at least recogntion that keeping people healthy isnt just on physical side, but also finding ways to disengage, to recharge mental batteries and emotional health” – Adam Cobb
It’s important for employers to take a look at the lifestyle they’re promoting among workers. Expecting employees to work 60 hours a week or insisting people respond to work-related email from home are just a few of the things that can interfere with an employee’s ability to build a natural buffer against workplace stress. A few simple ways to foster a healthy environment include encouraging exercise, allowing for breaks where employees can socialize, and offering stress reduction workshops. Hiring a mental health professional to teach mindfulness or offering free access to a yoga class are just a few creative ways to bolster mental strength and develop resilience to mental health problems.