Importance of good Mental Health in the Workplace

What is good mental health? … Good mental health is characterised by a person’s ability to fulfill a number of key functions and activities, including the ability to learn. the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions. the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others.

Importance of good Mental Health in the Workplace

photo – gallup.com

Mental Health has been a vital part of and continues to impact, your health and lifestyle. While people focus on taking care of the physical and spiritual aspects of their body, they should not forget to take care of their mental health as well.

Have you ever considered how mental health can affect you in the workplace?

Supposedly, a negative work environment can lead to mental health problems. It is reported that over three million people suffer from depression, with offsets of anxiety which have caused the global economy in excess of $1 trillion a year due to productivity losses according to the World Health Organization.

In contrast, organizations/businesses which promote mental health and support their employees who experience difficulties with mental disorders are more likely to retain their workforce, increase productivity and as such mutually benefit from the economy.

But what are the risk factors for your health?

Risk factors may or may not be present in any one work environment, but can be related to interactions with colleagues, management, skills of the employees, level of work required to complete, resources available or the support given to the team members. Some workplaces carry a higher risk than others and have a higher impact on an employee’s mental health as a result. Additionally, there are several difficulties which could be experienced by work, such as burnout or stress.

Risk factors include:

  • Communication is poor as well as the management practices
  • Work hours are not flexible
  • Low control as it regards one’s area of work and little to no participation in making decisions
  • Policies for health and safety are limited or non-existent
  • Tasks are unclear and/or unsuitable
  • Low or no levels of support for team members which lead to the team not being cohesive

These risks may also be associated with unsuitable tasks which do not match the competencies of the employee or the workload required.

Bullying and psychological harassment are commonly being reported by workers are also causes of work-related stressors which jeopardize the health of a business’ employees. These risk factors cost employees their job productivity and can increase the turnover of staff. They can also produce negative impacts on social and family interactions.

A healthy workplace is one in which all levels of employees actively contribute to the environment in which they work while protecting their health, safety, and well-being. How does an organization ensure that they adopt a good and professional work environment? Here are some ways:

  • Promoting mental health through the development of positivity throughout the workplace and increase employee strength
  • Address the key risk factors and employ practices to reduce them to decrease the impact on employee’s mental health
  • Ensuring that employees do not overwork themselves in hope of impressing their coworkers or supervisors
  • Adopt a good work-life balance at all levels of the organization
  • Employers recognizing and contributing to the welfare of their employees and rewarding them for their efforts
  • Involve employees in decision-making activities so they feel a sense of control and participation
  • Being aware of the various interventions, policies and support systems out there for their employees who experience mental health problems and disorders
  • Becoming aware of those employees with mental disorders and ensuring that their risk factors are minimized
  • Employ a safe environment for their workers to prosper and maximize productivity and opportunity

Key Takeaways:

  • Work is an integral part of one’s daily activities and is good for mental health, however, the environment needs to be one that is thriving and doesn’t negatively affect its employees
  • Anxiety and depression are popular mental illnesses and have a substantial impact on the economy
  • Workplace loss of productivity has cost the global economy $1 trillion in losses
  • There are many actions and practices that organizations can employ in order to promote mental health in the workforce while improving productivity which directly affects the economy.
  • Mental health interventions should be incorporated into the workforce as it is of great importance, mental illness is something many people aren’t prepared to discuss much less get help for
  • Involving stakeholders and staff in the implementation of practices, policies, interventions, and the promotion of mental health can significantly improve the severity of risk factors in the workplace

By Alexandra Daley

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