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Mental Health in the Workplace: Why does it matter?

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


Focused woman working on her laptop, representing mental health in the workplace
Dedication at work . Prioritizing mental health in the workplace ensures a happier, more productive team.

The importance of mental health in the workplace strongly depends on the company and the culture. The response from your supervisors will vary based on the exact nature of your issues. Many employees feel they might not get their desired jobs due to the fear that their managers or supervisors will consider them unemployable. In France, the average workplace environment isn't jovial but rather gloomy. France takes the lead in being the country with work-related health issues, affecting productivity and employee well-being. There are cases where there was a rise in absenteeism due to the employees' deteriorating mental condition, highlighting the urgent need to prioritize employee well-being. According to the survey taken by Le Monde, young adults are more vulnerable compared to the elderly.


Why mental health in the workplace should be a main priority?

Employees, such as people aged 18-30, are at risk due to work overloads, inflexible hours, poor organizational culture, harassment, or discrimination. A person with good mental well-being would efficiently improve their work performance by thinking, decision-making, and confidence. These kinds of mental health risks are called psychosocial risks, and addressing them is essential for employee well-being. Psychosocial risk emerges from a poor working environment and long working hours, making it crucial to take measures to protect employee well-being.


According to two studies conducted in collaboration with the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), employees at 'high risk' for depression had the highest medical expenditures three years after their initial health risk assessments (HRAs). Other studies have shown that psychosocial risk factors such as stress, burnout, and future detrimental effects on worker productivity are measured in terms of absenteeism, presenteeism, workers' compensation claims, and short-term disability.

People with mental health are severely disadvantaged in the labor market compared to their co-workers. For people with long-term mental illness, as many as 85% are unemployed. One in ten of those with mental health problems always or often believed that colleagues made snide or Sarcastic comments or avoided them because of their mental health problems, and more than 15% believed they missed a promotion because of their condition. The barrier between creating healthier workplaces and supporting employees' mental health is the stigma surrounding mental illness, which needs to be demolished.


Team collIn the heart of productive collaboration . Balancing mental health in the workplace is key to a thriving team. aboration in the workplace: One person working on a laptop, two discussing, and a girl taking notes

How can you support your employee's mental health in the workplace?

The biggest issue in the corporate world is to stop the mental health stigma. Many employees may be reluctant to disclose their illnesses to you. They may fear the potential negative consequences of revealing it and the confidentiality of the information they disclose. People with common mental health issues at work have different therapies available. Managers and occupational health professionals must incorporate and work together to help employees have the best mental health support system at work.


As an employee, you can help your co-workers who are mentally struggling by the following points below:

1. Creating a culture that supports employees' mental health: If you take proactive steps to create a more open and supportive culture, over time, the employee should feel more confident to talk to the manager about their mental health. It's important to remember that cultural change doesn't take place overnight.


2. Work together and involve others in finding solutions: Voluntary and agreed adjustments are supportive; it's essential that co-workers are treated differently or asked to do things that they are uncomfortable with. It is important to remember that people are often an expert when identifying the support they need.


3. On-the-job support system: We all need support or reassurance from our managers or supervisors. This on-the-job support system is frequently the key to supporting employees' mental health by helping them cope with the challenges they are experiencing at work significantly impacting employee well-being


4. Developing an action plan to manage employees' mental health: Managers or supervisors should work with the staff to create an action plan to manage their mental health proactively. This allows people to plan and develop tailored support when they're not coping well.



Workplace reception scene: Man on computer, woman on phone, representing office dynamics
Office synergy at its best. Prioritizing mental health in the workplace boosts productivity and well-being.

Conclusion

Workplaces have found several interventions helpful, especially those that provide employees with the skills to look after their mental health and thereby enhance employee well-being. . Managers or supervisors need to consider work-related factors that can make their employees sick and how the individual interprets these. Promoting mental well-being at work would help to take a more positive approach to tackling mental health issues and stigmas. Organizations such as Project C Foundation have counselors always here to listen to your work-related worries and stress.



Written By:

Larissa Alphonso





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