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The importance of understanding employee’s mental well-being in the workplace

22 Jan 16:00 by Charlotte Rogers

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A person’s mental health is extremely important for their wellbeing and their ability to work. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, physical and social well-being. It is far more complex than some people perceive it to be. Understanding the signs and symptoms of poor mental health will make it easier to help your employees. The stigma surrounding mental health is one that is hard to get rid of; however shying away from talking about it will only make things worse. It is time to stand up and listen to what people have to say, for the sake of your company and all of the people surrounding you.

“I feel that people are afraid of what they don't know. People don’t know enough because it’s not talked about enough. I've seen people make a mockery of mental health due to their own ignorance. I would like to see a world where there's not a stigma because many people have mental health issues, and I think having more knowledge on the topic would help this.” (Anonymous Speaker Source)

There are some early warning signs that may happen in the work environment; ones that you should potentially take into consideration:

  • Turning up late or not at all – This can be a common symptom for some people and completely out of their character (More than 20% of people have admitted to calling in sick to avoid work stress – mind.org2018.)
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling hopeless, challenged to the point of giving up
  • Inability to perform simple daily tasks

If anyone you are working with has any of these symptoms or you are worried, this should be mentioned to a senior member of staff. It is important to try and help the person in question, but not to push them into something they feel uncomfortable with.

Our career and our mental health can sometimes be a very sensitive subject. Our workplace can be such a huge part of our lives, it’s where we spend most of our days and we put a lot of energy into it. This can be extremely damaging for some people. Some people can become conflicted between work and prioritizing their health. However, having a good workspace and the ability to connect positively with co-workers has a huge impact on mental health and performance.

It is essential that you can create a good work – life balance in your employee’s lives. It’s good to work them hard, but know your own limits, being too harsh can cause unnecessary stress and be extremely damaging to a person. Here are a few things you can do to help this:

  • Check in with your colleagues informally in the office and see how they’re doing. If you manage someone, make sure you ask them about their days and offer the chance for them to talk to you personally.
  • Make it clear that you are there to support them. Offer them the support they may need, of course they may decline, but knowing they have the opportunity at hand can be very comforting.
  • Value mental health and wellbeing as a core asset of your company. - Commit to developing an approach to mental health at work that protects and improves mental health for everyone, whilst supporting those people who experience distress. Designate board champions, and ensure senior leaders and middle managers are responsible for implementing mental health programmes.

There are a large amount of websites you can visit to widen your knowledge on this situation. There is far too much stigma surrounding this huge issue which is why people can be afraid to speak up. Make it clear you are an organization that values people, being knowledgeable on mental health and understanding the issue can be comfort enough.

Head over to www.mind.org.uk for more information or to book training courses.

Everyone deserves the effort, you will see the difference.