Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend of openly discussing mental health in the workplace. As a result, the business world is starting to discuss how to best manage the mentally stressed and struggling.
Taking care of one’s mental health is important. When your mental health struggles, it can lead to a ton of negative outcomes, including severe anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
Mental health and the workplace go hand-in-hand. It’s not uncommon to hear people saying their mental health has suffered from work due to unreasonable hours, poor working conditions, or poor financial compensation. When an employee’s mental health is in decline, it hurts the business as their employees cannot work at their best.
While there’s no golden rule on what businesses should do to help their employee’s mental health, there are some common guidelines. Here’s how to approach mental health in the workplace.
The problem of mental illness
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults lives with some form of mental illness. A person does not necessarily have to be diagnosed or “sick” to struggle or suffer from a condition, meaning that most people are struggling silently without proper support.
NAMI also states that 19 percent of U.S. adults have a mental health condition, but less than one-third of those people receive treatment or services in any given year. This poses a problem for people who are struggling because they do not seek help and instead try to suffer through the problems on their own.
In addition, companies lose productivity from their employees who may be struggling with mental health. A loss of productivity means that employees are unable to work efficiently, and companies may have to spend more money training new hires because their current workforce is underperforming.
What companies can do
While the business world talks about approaching this rising issue, they typically do not focus on how companies can help people struggling with mental health. According to the World Health Organization, it does not have to be taboo or embarrassing to talk about this issue.
It is time businesses start discussing what they can do to help their employees who may be struggling silently. Companies can help people who are struggling with mental health by providing wellness seminars for their employees. Education is a key component in helping people who may not understand properly addressing mental health.
These seminars can teach employees about what resources are available for them and encourage them to identify the signs of struggling or being at risk for suicide.
Provide an outlet
While companies can help by educating about mental health, there are several other ways to help their employees.
Employees should have access to resources that will allow them to talk about their issues. These could be including therapy and counseling in their health insurance plans. When employees can talk about what they are struggling with, it allows them to find a solution to their issues.
In addition, companies can provide flexibility when addressing mental health issues in the workplace. Instead of being fired when a person is dealing with mental health issues, companies can work with the employee to find a solution that will better suit them.
For example, they may be able to come in later in the day, so they do not have to deal with rush hour traffic, or they may be allowed more vacation days over the holidays if their condition makes the season particularly strenuous.
Listen to the employee’s problems
For employers, they should take time to learn more about their employee’s struggles. Employers should welcome feedback without having the looming presence of a firing if an employee complains about something.
It’s also important to take time to understand what signs may be associated with mental health issues and learn how you can support your employees throughout their journey.
Ultimately, businesses need to start having these talks about mental illness. If they don’t address it now, the problem will only worsen and affect their employees and the company’s productivity.
If your employee’s mental health is good, your business will do better. You’ll have less turnover and can thrive.
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