Our world is transforming and growing at unprecedented rates. Previous generations did not anticipate such radical technological revolutions and the increasing easiness in human lives. However, despite the apparent growth, the increase in quality and value in human life is still debatable. Medical studies and pharmaceutical science have advanced massively, but social wellbeing is still questionable. Recently, the concept of “Mental Health” has emerged in conversations everywhere. Human welfare has become a subject of importance, as worldwide depression, burnout, and suicide cases are increasing.
Previously, the concept of health was primarily focused on physical health, as any improvement or deterioration is apparent physically. However, mental health is not easily traceable without comprehensive psychological methods. Our current lifestyles and routines are indeed high-speed and daunting. In the pursuit of such technological disruptions and active life, humans miss out on their basic mental needs like socializing and connecting.
In a typical working routine, employees face harassment, bullying, interpersonal conflicts, low motivation, and overall job dissatisfaction. Similarly, our work environments have increasingly become challenging and stressful. Consequently, it is essential to make people aware of mental health and take it as a priority in their lives. Organizations, on the other hand, have to be more stringent about employee wellbeing.
Let us look at how good mental health practices can help individuals and corporations minimize workplace issues.
- Have Professionals on Board:
A new trendy practice has emerged in corporations to bring mental health professionals on board. They work as consultants to improve the culture and reduce toxicity in the workplace environment. These professionals are typically Organizational Psychologists who understand the real-world applications of such complex psychological phenomena. They also help employers improve the morale and productivity of their employees by providing specific training and education. Similarly, they can help out individuals who are struggling with mental health issues too.
- Encourage Work-Life Balance:
Conventionally, employees who work till late and hustle all the time get appreciation and, consequently, promotion. Such cultures are not beneficial for corporations in the long run. Without switching off and spending time outside work, it affects employee productivity, and their burnout chances increase.
Encourage employees to take regular vacations or timeouts to plug out from the routine office work. Although, work-life balance is becoming a myth these days in a 24/7 connected world, but do not expect or promote a culture of answering emails in the evenings. Introduce policies to encourage employees to engage in hobbies, taking care of themselves, and spend time with their loved ones. Employees themselves must also consider such things seriously and draw a line of balance to look after their mental wellbeing. Such practices allow employees to avoid psychological pressures and hence improve their mental health.
- Open Up the Topic:
Why mental health did not get enough importance and attention is because people either refrain from talking about it or do not believe in it. Therefore, a good stepping stone towards enabling your workplace culture about mental health is to talk about it openly. Promote the culture of bringing up issues of stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness. Establish the fact that anyone can be a victim of mental health struggles at some point in time.
Organizations should work to reduce the stigma around this topic. Talking about mental health, self-care, stress management, etc. in regular emails and meetings can help. Similarly, if employees are not labeled or fired because of their struggles of mental health issues, it will create an enabling and facilitative environment.
We recommend you to include mental health awareness, signs of mental health problems, and appropriate response in dealing, as part of managers’ training. An empathetic and considerate conversation between an employee and manager can do wonders for an individual to get through such struggles.
- Get Screened:
Most of the time, mental health issues are left unattended and untreated, as people do not recognize the symptoms and signs. They consider such stresses as routine “headaches” and “lethargy” and expect them to go away. Many free screening tools can help out individuals to assess their mental health. And then employees who do not get positive results and have risks of depression or anxiety can then seek treatment.
- Prioritize Wellness:
Like productivity, increased sales, and better profitability, wellness must be taken as a priority to improve mental health. Employers can encourage their people to develop good habits. It can be done by introducing wellness initiatives and incentivizing employees who participate in wellness programs, offering free gym memberships, etc.
The world has gradually begun taking mental health seriously, but there is still a long way to go. It will take some time when we will treat mental illness as we treat physical illness. But the journey can be kept ongoing by promoting one step at a time.