Mental Health in the Workplace: An Overlooked Issue

Mental Health in the Workplace: An Overlooked Issue
by Ariella Singleton Nov, 16 2023

Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace

When you mention the term 'workplace,' varying images come to mind. Some might imagine bustling office spaces, others might think about a serene remote workspace, or culinary artists might even envision a steaming hot kitchen. But whatever your association may be, there's one factor that often gets brushed under the proverbial work mat - mental health. As someone who's experienced her fair share of mental health issues and juggled a blogging career, I can't emphasize enough the importance of addressing this overlooked aspect. So today, let's dive deep into this pivotal topic.

Decoding the General Attitude Towards Mental Health

The societal perception regarding mental health has always been nuanced, and dare I say, somewhat misguided. For instance, people often conflate mental health with 'craziness' or 'madness,' which couldn't be more incorrect! Mental health issues encompass a vast spectrum, from stress, anxiety, depression, to more severe conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Each one unique, requiring specific attention and care. But the pressing need is to eschew trivialization of such issues, especially in the workplace.

Mental Health is Good Health

Now, I am no medical expert, but being a mental health warrior myself, I've realized that mental health is as, if not more, important as physical health. Think about it, what's a fit body without a healthy mind, right? We've all heard of the saying "a sound mind in a sound body", it's time to take this wisened old adage seriously!

Why is Mental Health Overlooked in the Workplace?

The pertinent question here is - why is mental health so grossly overlooked in the workplace? Derived from my experiences and musings, one reason could be the incessant pressure to portray oneself as 'perfect.' A workplace is a professional environment often dictated by productivity and deadlines. It consequently fuels this unhealthy perception of ‘ideal worker’ perennially immune to mental health afflictions. Ignoring mental health becomes a toxic norm, leading to burnouts, dips in productivity, and sadly, reduced work satisfaction.

The Ripple Effect of Neglecting Mental Health in Workplace

Alright, folks, let's talk about how neglecting mental health can affect your work environment. Mental health issues, if left unattended, can cause a domino effect, impacting not just the individual but the entire team and, in turn, the organization. Decreased motivation, reduced productivity, high absenteeism, and even employee churn - the ripple effects are profound and far-reaching. I've seen this happen to colleagues, friends, and even myself at times. But trust me, it's not a scenario you'd wish upon anyone!

The Role of Employers in Improving Mental Health

On to the big fish - employers! They play a significant role in improving mental health in the workplace. By fostering an empathetic culture, providing resources, and debunking prevailing myths, they can create psychologically safe spaces. My better half, Dexter, runs a small tech startup. As an employer, he introduced flexible work hours and regular mental health sessions. This approach was not merely beneficial for his employees' mental well-being but also boosted productivity scores eventually. This makes me assert that compassionate leadership can indeed blaze a trail for optimal mental health.

Mental Health Policies: An Urgent Call

With rising awareness about mental health issues, it's high time we consider concrete mental health policies in the workplace. Measures like timely mental health check-ups, counselling support, and stress management workshops can go a long way. Just like our adorable parrot Petey needs to be fed and taken care of daily, our mental health needs daily nourishment and maintenance too. Trust me, folks, prevention is better than cure!

Break the Stigma: Speak Out About Your Struggles

Saying 'I am struggling' can be daunting, especially in a workspace. But remember, it's okay not to be okay. I've had times when I struggled to get out of bed. Trust me, it's not an exaggeration! Sharing your struggles can be liberating and can help break the stigma around mental health. Encouraging open conversations about one's mental health struggles in the workplace can be a responsive step towards a mentally healthy work environment.

Building a Mentally Fit Future of Work

As we stand at the crossroads of changing work dynamics, mental health, often the silent sufferer, needs to be prioritized. A mentally healthy workforce can contribute newer ideas, showcase heightened creativity, and handle stress better, steering any organization towards success. It's high time we revolutionize our workplaces and make them psychologically comfortable spaces, fostering growth, innovation, and well-being!