Mental health in the workplace is top of mind for everyone these days. While our understanding of mental health at work is changing, and how widespread poor mental health is, it’s worth taking a look at the basics.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual can cope with everyday stressors, work productively, reach his or her full potential, and contribute to their community. Mental health, along with physical health and social well-being, is an essential component of overall health. It’s also important to point out that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. You can have poor mental health without having an illness and likewise, you can have good mental health with a mental illness.
Positive mental health is important because it allows individuals to cope with challenges, even good ones, and setbacks in their lives, both at work and at home. Positive mental health at work helps teams remain agile when changing roles and responsibilities. Not to mention facing difficult challenges. It helps employees flourish in their roles, manage stress, and boosts resilience. Ultimately, it allows each individual to reach their highest potential.
With all these accolades it is important that workplace mental health is discussed. Creating a safe space for employees at all levels to communicate openly without discrimination is crucial.
Work-related risk factors that can harm mental health
Employee mental health can be negatively affected in the workplace due to:
- Inadequate health and Safety Policy.
- Poor communication and management pratices
- Low level of support from employees
- Performance pressure
- Job insecurity
How can mental health issues affect my job?
When you feel good mentally and emotionally, you approach your job with good mental health. You’re adaptable, flexible, and resilient. You are able to handle challenges. Your contributions to your team are meaningful, and you thrive in your personal and professional life. But when you’re struggling with poor mental health at work, even if it isn’t extreme, it negatively affects your job in many ways.
Ways to promote mental health in the workplace
As an Employer:
Below are six strategies employers can use to promote mental well-being at work:
1. Employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP is a work-based program that traditionally assists employees with personal or work-related problems that may be hurting their job performance or well-being. An EAP is provided to employees at no cost and can assist with issues like relationship challenges, traumatic events (i.e., workplace violence), legal problems, wellness matters, and a broad range of other issues.
2. Relaxation spaces. Dedicated quiet spaces for relaxation activities give employees the opportunity for mid-day breaks to unwind and de-stress. Equally important is making it culturally acceptable to take breaks and use these spaces. Leaders and managers can set the tone.
3. Mental health self-assessment tools available to all employees. Self-assessment tools provide questionnaires and tools to assess mental health concerns. These tools don’t provide a diagnosis but rather help explore if further assessment or resources would be beneficial to the employee.
For instance, tools may include:
- Mental health meter quiz
- Mood assessment checklist
- Work-life balance questionnaire
- Assessing your current situation questionnaire
- Online alcohol and drug help center
- Online mental health check-up
4. Free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression. Clinical screenings from mental health professionals that provide feedback and clinical referrals when appropriate. The effort of seeking evaluation and treatment can otherwise be a barrier.
5. Free or subsidized mental well-being coaches. Coaching services from certified coaches to help employees navigate challenges and strengthen their mental fitness.
6. Health insurance with mental health benefits at no or low out-of-pocket costs. Provide free or inexpensive health care coverage for prescription medications and mental health counseling.
As an Employee:
Here are six strategies employees can use to promote mental well-being at work:
1. Take part in employer-sponsored programs and activities. Employees should take advantage of employer programs to learn skills and obtain the support they need.
2. Share ups and downs with others. To help reduce the stigma around mental health, employees can share more of their own experiences with other co-workers when appropriate. Unless you feel very safe, this is more about sharing your humanness than getting into details — co-workers can’t substitute for mental health professionals.
3. Practice coping skills during the workday. To cope with daily work stressors, employees can practice skills that promote healthier mindsets, relationships, and self-image.
Coping tools may include:
- Deep breathing
- Healthy communication
- Prioritization and focusing on one task at a time to avoid being overwhelmed
- Using positive self-talk
4. Practice self-care on lunch breaks. Daily lunch breaks are more than just opportunities to eat — they’re also the perfect time to practice self-care.
Practicing self-care during lunch breaks may include:
- Listening to inspirational podcasts
- Deep breathing
- Going for a short nature walk
- Using the emotional freedom technique (EFT)/tapping
5. Take care of their physical health. Employees can set themselves up for mental health success by taking care of their physical health. This includes eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.
6. Nurture relationships. Nurturing social connections at work is key to preventing social isolation and loneliness in the workplace.
Why should companies worry about mental health?
Poor mental health and emotional distress in the workplace are problematic for companies for a number of reasons.
Poor mental health at work can result in:
- Disengaged employees
- Poor communication
- High turnover
- Safety liabilities
- Poor job performance
- Low productivity
- Poor decision-making
- Decreased profits
You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https: www.safetycentre.ng/training_register
At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO
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We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.
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