The shocking statistic that 1 in 4 people will suffer with mental health issues at one point in life is now fairly well-known, but not many people know how linked mental health issues can be to work. Workplace issues can bring on or exacerbate anxiety and depression most commonly but can be responsible for a number of health issues. Mental wellbeing – how we think, feel and express ourselves – can be affected by many different parts of our lives; it’s important we recognise when we are struggling and act quickly. Here we will look at a few ways to help promote mental health wellbeing in the workplace.
Recognising Mental Health Issues
Identifying when an employee is struggling with mental health isn’t always easy. However, there are a few things you may notice which could indicate that an employee is struggling. If an employee suddenly doesn’t seem themselves – suddenly much more withdrawn, low mood, lack of confidence and lacking motivation – it could indicate that there are mental health issues at play. Physical symptoms can also begin to show themselves, which can often come in the form of lethargy, changes in movements and sudden constant headaches or aches and pains. These symptoms can indicate a number of problems or just certain issues at home – such as bereavement – but are something worth looking out for and properly addressing if employees appear to be struggling.
Recognising Work-Related Issues
If you notice that one of your employees appears to be struggling, it’s important to identify if the problem is work-related. The good news is there are often ways to help alleviate issues and symptoms brought on by work. High work-related stress, in-work bullying, and poor management can all lead to or exacerbate mental health issues in employees. If you notice employees struggling, it is important to organise a conversation with them in a safe and friendly environment to discuss how they feel about the workplace and if there are any problems they wish to raise. Problems need to be addressed effectively and appropriately to help create a more welcoming workplace.
Educating Your Employees
One of the best ways to improve mental health issues in work is to educate your employees. Training managers how to spot mental health problems in staff, training staff how to report mental health issues and offering support classes are great ways to educate your workforce. Organisations like the NHS, Mind and Access to Work are great places to gain further advice on helping your staff.
What Are the Challenges in the Workplace?
There are several factors in the workplace which can change the whole environment for the better or worse. Simple measures can be introduced to change the work environment and make it more favourable to employees which can in turn improve productivity. Bringing in flexible working, ensuring staff take appropriate breaks, overtime is limited and understanding when employees are ill – and not forcing them to turn up sick – can all really improve staff morale and reduce the likelihood of mental illness.