07. 10. 2017 Corporate responsibility

This year’s World Mental Health Day lays emphasis on mental health in the workplace

The World Federation for Mental Health thus underlines the importance of employees’ mental well-being.

Our lives today are fast, our relationships oftentimes superficial, and anyone who becomes less efficient at work may be replaced. Stress, emphasis on a worker’s productivity, and job insecurity make the employed feel under pressure. A direct consequence of this is a growing occurrence of stress-related diseases. The most common ones include mental disorders. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year. 

People in the workplace find it difficult to admit that they have health issues, let alone mental health issues. They often become objects of ridicule, scathing criticism from superiors, mobbing, or exclusion. Let’s see how a person with depression feels and how they can be perceived by their colleagues:

How a person with depression feels

How a person with depression is perceived by their colleagues

feels deep sorrow

isolates themselves from the others

loses interest in their job

is indifferent

has difficulty concentrating, has a slower thinking pace     

postpones work obligations, is late with deadlines

forgets, has difficulty remembering

is unfocused and off-balance

has difficulty making a decision

is slow, unproductive, procrastinates (puts off things until later)

has difficulty sleeping

is late for work, is tired after lunch, has accidents at work

feels guilty and totally worthless

is insecure and lacks self-confidence

loss of energy and increased tiredness

has low motivation

changes in weight or appetite

changes in appearance

may feel angry or irritated

reacts inappropriately and has tense relations with the others, is a difficult person

Advice for employers

It is important for employers to become educated on mental health issues, to be sensitive to all the needs of employees that may arise. Employees may have mental health issues and feel mentally unwell for many reasons; however, they are not always work-related. Despite that, it is essential that the workplace is a sensitive and safe place for employees under all circumstances. Make sure that you focus on all your employees, including the management.

Aid programmes for employees:

  • Bigger employers should make sure that mental health is part of any aid programmes for employees.
  • “Safe” talking / rooms – create an environment in which people feel safe to talk about the problems that may cause their “absence” from work.
  • Open interviews – emphasize that there is no stigma associated with mental health issues and be an example.
  • Life can be very stressful, and the workplace should be a refuge and should lend a helping hand. Employ the concept of good mental health in dealing with employees’ lack of mental well-being and in helping them feel comfortable and safe in your organization.
  • Create the atmosphere of hope. Look for activities which promote teamwork and the feeling that “you aren’t alone” at work. This supports employees’ creativity, productivity, and hope.

Recommendations for employees

Your own well-being is the priority. In the first place, care for your mental well-being by seeking help wherever it is possible. Make sure you have a strong system of personal support both at and outside work. It may be useful to talk about your personal health and mental health to your superior so that they can understand and help you.

Trainings:

  • Understand how your body and mind work.  It is very important for your mental well-being. There are a lot of personal or online trainings that may prove helpful. Participate in all mental health programmes offered by your employer.
  • Become the initiator of change. If your organization is not a mentally safe place to work, seek ways of changing it. Talk about it to your individual colleagues, but also at meetings where you can share your ideas with everybody – informal gettogethers, trainings, team building events, appraisal interviews, etc.

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