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It’s Time to Focus on Employee Mental Health

HR professionals understand mental health and employment go hand-in-hand. The problem is that many companies don’t take employee wellbeing seriously enough. They assume that employees should be able to handle their workload without worrying about their mental health.

Workplace stress and burnout are common problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 60% of workers suffer from some form of mental illness. In addition, nearly half of all adults report experiencing at least one major depressive episode during their lifetime.  

Employees who experience high levels of stress and anxiety are less productive and more likely to leave their jobs. This means they miss out on opportunities to advance within their company and increase their earning potential. In addition, these individuals may even have a negative impact on others in the office by spreading misery and pessimism.

So how can organizations help improve workplace mental wellness? And why is it beneficial for them to do so?

If you already have people working at your organization who are suffering from stress or burnout issues, this article will show you how you can effectively address those challenges.

mental wellness for employees

Employees Mental Health in The Workplace

The term “employee mental health” implies that managing workplace stress rests solely with the employee. On the surface, this appears to hold true. After all, employers can only do so much to provide a safe and inclusive workplace for employees who may not fit into their culture or have specific needs (e.g., a spiritual or LGBT-inclusive environment). And as such, it falls upon the employee to figure out how to mitigate stress.

But as is often the case with mental health conditions, many other factors could contribute to workplace stress and its long-term effects on an employee’s mental health. Further complicating matters is the fact that mental health conditions are often complex and that not all employees fall into the stereotypical profile of suffering from mental illness or be easy to identify as mentally ill.

Employers should have a plan to help identify and manage workplace stress.

How to Encourage Mental Wellness for Employees 

Managers need to create a healthy work environment where everyone feels valued and supported. As mentioned above, the first step involves recognizing that staff members are human beings with feelings and emotions just like anyone else. It’s crucial not to generalize any personality traits or habits based on race, gender, or sexuality, but rather to acknowledge when someone experiences pain or discomfort. This might sound simple on the surface, yet it is still something that few leaders consistently practice.

A manager must also recognize that not every person has the same coping skills and resilience. Some people need extra support. Others may benefit from additional training and mentoring. Recognizing that not everyone fits into the same category is the first step towards workplace mental wellness and creating a culture where employees feel comfortable talking about their struggles, whether work-related pressures or personal triggers cause them. When managers listen empathetically and take appropriate action, management and staff become happier. The key is understanding what makes each employee tick and communicating appropriately, which can be difficult if you don’t know your people well.

Recognize signs of poor mental health. This includes making sure that staff isn’t being overworked. Managers should notice if staff start missing meetings, becoming angry in the office, or showing up late for work. If workers say things that seem threatening or make unwise decisions, this might indicate a problem with their mood, motivation, or ability to focus. By providing feedback, managers can steer staff back towards productive behavior.

Offer Counseling and Psychological Benefits. If a worker is struggling either emotionally or physically, they will surely appreciate the company offering them counseling or assistance dealing with medical issues. However, it’s also key for managers to look beyond physical ailments. People experiencing poor mental health may want to talk to their boss to explain why they feel low. These conversations can lead to better job performance and positive working relationships in some cases. A good way to encourage open communication is to offer anonymous opportunities for staff to speak openly about their thoughts and concerns. These conversations may be awkward at times, but an honest dialogue between a manager and an employee can often improve the situation.

Create a positive work atmosphere. Mental wellbeing starts with the attitude you give your team. When managing or creating mental wellness for employees, you’ll probably encounter negativity, so try your best to keep a cheery disposition and avoid gossiping. For example, you could praise successful projects instead of criticizing underachieving ones. Expressing appreciation goes a long way to instilling positivity around the workplace. Try giving rewards such as lunches out (when possible) or gift certificates for high performances. If you can provide these perks regularly, your co-workers will return the favor by being more cooperative during stressful times.

Mental wellness for employees is one of the most common problems today, especially for those who work in a place for quite several hours every day. There are many ways to manage stress and stay healthy, depending on your situation. While many factors affect a person’s state of mind, taking steps toward overall wellness is important to ensure that all employees have a balanced existence. Your goal should be to nurture a happy and collaborative environment where people can thrive. Let us help you set the right tone for your business!

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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