Work is good for mental health, and there is no second thought to it. A workplace could, however, be one of the reasons for depriving the mental condition of an individual. In the world we live in, mental health is still a taboo, and people are often hesitant of discussing or sharing their issues with anyone. Ignoring or not addressing the problem could result in severe depression, lost interest in life, family & surroundings, low productivity & enthusiasm, and even a more serious mental health issue. Spreading awareness about mental health has to start from somewhere, so why not a workplace? Employees spend a major share of their everyday time in office and providing them a positive environment to thrive in could play a significant role in their success. Having said, let’s delve deeper into the importance of creating mental health awareness at the workplace and how to do it.
Need for mental health awareness at the workplace
An article by Center for Workplace Mental Health reveals that depression costs employers a whopping $44 billion a year as productivity loss in U.S. Needless to say, it’s time for employers to ensure their employees are physically and mentally fit. Let’s look at more reasons to pay attention to the mental health of your people:
Mental health can be a threat to employee safety
An employee who is not in the right state of mind might not be able to recognize potential hazards at the workplace. People need to be mindful of their surroundings and what they are doing, in order to work safely.
Stress at the workplace leads to poor physical and mental health
There’s a correlation between workplace stress and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. A meta-analysis of 228 studies by Stanford University and Harvard Business School revealed that stress at the workplace could increase an employee’s risk of poor health, mental illness, physician-reported illness, and mortality.
Ways to deal with mental health problems at workplace
Offer flexibility to employees
Being flexible with employees could be truly rewarding. Flexible work timings, letting people work from home shows you trust them. Additionally, this will create the workplace happier and improve the quality of work.
Encourage the culture of short breaks
Sitting at one place for prolonged hours increases the risk of obesity and other diseases. It can also be mentally tiring for an individual. That’s why it is important to encourage your people to take short breaks. Having team building activities, ping-pong table, weekly gatherings will bring happiness and positivity at the workplace.
Focus on overall health & wellbeing
The idea of having mental health awareness & wellness programs in the company could seem expensive at first thought. However, a survey in 2014 reveals that every $1 Johnson & Johnson spent on employee wellness programs enabled the company to save between $1.88 to $3.92 on healthcare costs. Having sessions on stress management, mental health, yoga, meditation etc. will reduce healthcare costs as well as contribute to the overall wellbeing of your people.
The Wrap Up
Mental health problems are common and long-lasting. While other chronic health conditions start affecting individuals in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, mental health issues could affect anyone as early as in their 20s or 30s. If we talk specifically about mental health issues at work, they affect the productivity of an employee, hence the bottom line. Implementing one or all of these ideas in the workplace will contribute to a more positive environment and a team of happy employees. As an organization, it is your responsibility to learn more about your employees and ensure their growth at a personal and professional level.