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Why is mental health awareness important in the workplace?

Although it is presumed that the mental illness of a worker develops outside the place of work, there is a possibility that a worker developed a mental illness before the employment or while working. Certain conditions at the place of work can affect an employee causing stress and exacerbate thus leading to the development of […]

Although it is presumed that the mental illness of a worker develops outside the place of work, there is a possibility that a worker developed a mental illness before the employment or while working. Certain conditions at the place of work can affect an employee causing stress and exacerbate thus leading to the development of mental illness. Therefore, each individual at the coworking space should be aware of the potential factors that facilitate mental illness and the strategies they should follow to be on the safer side. Some of the signs that may indicate either you or your workmate is struggling with mental health include:

  • Oversleeping or failing to sleep at all
  • Withdrawing from other colleagues, family members or friends
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs or other medications
  • A decline in work performance
  • Constant feelings of discouragement or sadness

Here are the reasons why investing in mental health awareness is important:

Focus on early intervention or prevention

It is normal for employees to get stressed because of deadlines, management styles, workload, job security and different personalities of co-workers. Therefore, when an organization invests in mental health initiatives, it is easier to intervene to help the employees before the issues become debilitating/serious.

Improve productivity and engagement

Improving the mental health of your employees is important because it reflects on their productivity. Ergo, when any of your employees shows mental illness symptoms, it is the duty of the employer/the organization to help him/her seek professional help. When employees are mentally resilient to stress, workflow, decision making, thinking and relationships at work improve considerably.

Reduce costs and risks

A workplace that has mentally healthy employees reduces the cost of operation and risks. For instance, absenteeism due to illness or failure to deliver due to stress or other factors is costly for the employer because he/she will have to hire another employee or look for a part-time replacement. Also, presenteeism is a common problem where employees report at work but are distracted or very ill to achieve maximum productivity. Therefore, as an organization, mental health awareness is important.

Reduce stigma & create a positive working environment

Employees who have mental issues may fail to seek professional help to avoid being stigmatized, isolated or considered unfit for the job. This can affect their work output and as an employer, you might incur huge loses in the long run. Therefore, employers have a role to play by helping their employees with mental health education and holding open dialogues about their problems to create awareness. As an employee, you should be supportive, create mental awareness and provide resources needed to create a workplace that’s accessible and positive.

Treat mental issues to reduce the impact

An employer should have the necessary resources in place for an employee to access them with ease, get help and reduce the impact. Therefore, HR should provide a wide variety of treatment options including online programs, benefit plans, hiring a wellness counselor or a combination of these approaches to help the employees. Prevention is better than cure and instead of taking chances or waiting until one of your employees develop a serious mental issue, create awareness at your workplace in advance

Image Source: Pixabay

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