Mental health challenges are often equated with mental illnesses. This false parallel can prevent people who are struggling with mental health from getting the help they need because they do not believe their problems warrant attention. In reality, mental health is defined as, “a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community." With this broadened definition, it is easy to understand the prevalence of mental health issues and the need to take action. Companies in particular have a vested interest in establishing a culture of mental health in the workplace as “over 200 million workdays are lost due to mental health conditions each year ($16.8 billion in employee productivity).” Here are some tips to help employers and employees alike mitigate the financial and emotional burden of mental health challenges in the workplace.
Establish a schedule of meetings with employees to discuss their feelings, goals, and ways you can assist them. This gives you the opportunity to identify potential weak spots before they become major issues.
It is impossible for employees to utilize company resources if they do not know the resources exist. Therefore, be sure to let employees know what programs and tools they can leverage to support their mental health.
Workplace culture ultimately starts with people, so make sure your people are adequately trained on how to discuss, assist, and promote mental health at work.
Your physical health is inextricably tied to your mental health. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success by getting plenty of sleep, water, sunlight, and nutrients.
In the wise words of Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Do not struggle alone. Instead, confide in someone you trust and know that there is no shame in asking for help.
Breathing deeply is a simple exercise you can do at work to calm yourself down and manage stress. You can experiment with a variety of breathing techniques to determine what works best for you.
These are just some of the many ways employees and employers can work towards the common goal of establishing a happy and healthy work environment. Openly discussing mental health challenges and taking preventative measures to combat them are essential to the well-being of our workforce.
Also read: Addressing and Eliminating Gender Bias