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Mental health in the workplace

According to estimates, there are 264 million people in the world suffering from depression, one of the main causes of disability. In addition, many of them also suffer from anxiety symptoms.

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According to a recent WHO-led study, depression and anxiety disorders cost the world economy US $ 1 trillion annually in lost productivity. On the other hand, it is well known that unemployment is a risk factor for mental problems while obtaining a job or returning to work has protective effects.

However, a harsh work environment can lead to physical and mental problems, harmful use of substances and alcohol, absenteeism and loss of productivity. Promoting mental health in the workplace and supporting people with psychiatric disorders makes it more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and obtain the financial benefits that these effects entail.

Work-related health risks                                               

There are many factors in the work environment that can affect mental health. In most cases, the risks involved are due to an inappropriate interaction between the types of work, the organizational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of the personnel, and the facilities offered to them to carry out their work in the profession of locksmith near me. For example, it may be that a person has the necessary skills to carry out their tasks but does not have enough resources or does not receive the support they need due to the management and administration practices of the company.

Here are some of the mental health risks:

  • Inadequate safety and health protection policies;
  • Inefficient management and communication practices;
  • Little decision-making power of the worker or lack of control of their work area;
  • Low level of support for employees;
  • Rigid work hours;
  • Lack of clarity in organizational areas or objectives.

Risks can also be related to the content of the job. For example, the tasks assigned to a person may not be in line with their skills or the workload may be permanently high. Some jobs, such as those performed by humanitarian and first responders, carry a higher risk, can affect mental health, In addition, the risks may be higher in situations where the team is not cohesive or social support is not available.

Psychological harassment and intimidation at work (mobbing) are frequent causes of work stress and other health risks for workers and can lead to physical and psychological problems. These health effects have consequences for companies, which take the form of productivity losses and high staff turnover. Also, they can negatively affect family and social interactions.

Guidelines for creating a healthy work environment

An important aspect of ensuring a healthy workplace is the formulation of laws, strategies, and government policies, as the work on this issue has shown in the EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well-being (EU-Compass). In a healthy workplace, workers and managers actively contribute to improving the work environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all employees. In a 2014 academic report, it is recommended that interventions have a triple focus:

  • Protect mental health by reducing work-related risk factors;
  • Promote mental health by developing the positive aspects of work and the qualities and capacities of staff;
  • Try to fix mental health problems, regardless of their cause.

On this basis, the World Economic Forum guide highlights the following measures that organizations can take to create a healthy work environment:

  • Become aware of the work environment and how it can be adapted to promote an improvement in the mental health of different employees;
  • Learn from the motivations of the organization’s managers and employees who have taken action;
  • not reinvent the wheel and look at the actions taken by other companies;
  • Know the needs of each worker and the opportunities available, in order to develop better policies on mental health in the workplace; know what sources of support people can turn to for help.

These are the appropriate interventions and practices to protect and promote mental health in the workplace:

apply and enforce safety and health protection policies and practices, which make it possible to detect pathological stress, illnesses and the harmful use of psychoactive substances, as well as provide resources for it;

  • Inform workers that they can ask for help;
  • Promote staff participation in decisions, convey a sense of control and participation and implement practices in the organization that promote a healthy balance between work and personal life;
  • Offer employees professional development programs;
  • Recognize and reward the contribution of staff.

Mental health interventions should be part of an integrated health and wellness strategy that encompasses the prevention, early detection, support, and reintegration or rehabilitation. Occupational health services and professionals can help organizations implement these interventions where they are available, but even when they are not, a number of changes can be made to protect and promote mental health. The key to success is to involve stakeholders and staff at all levels when carrying out protection, advocacy, and support interventions and when evaluating their effectiveness.

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