Mental health is an essential component of our overall well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act and plays a significant role in how we function in our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, mental health concerns are still not consistently given the full attention and care they deserve in the workplace.
Here are 5 reasons why we should care about mental health in the workplace and 5 steps employers can take to support mental health in their organizations.
1- Our time at work affects our overall mood and energy levels. We spend a significant portion of our waking hours doing something related to work. Feeling unhappy at our job or not feeling supported by our supervisors and colleagues can be hugely detrimental to our overall mental health. Long working hours, job stress and a lack of work-life balance can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome and a host of other mental health issues.
2- Our work environment can impact our mental health. A toxic work environment that fosters a culture of bullying, discrimination, gaslighting or other forms of harassment can have severe consequences on our mental health.
3- Work can be a significant source of meaning and purpose in our lives. When we experience job insecurity, a lack of career development, or a lack of recognition for our work, it can harm our mental health. For many people, having a purposeful job or career helps them find a strong sense of direction in their lives, a moral purpose and a sense of belonging to a cause greater than themselves.
4-Social connections are important for our mental health and our workplace provides us with an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with colleagues. However, social isolation and loneliness can also arise in the workplace, especially for remote workers or those who work in highly competitive work environments, which can negatively impact our mental health and sense of community that we so often need.
5-Addressing mental health at work benefits both employees and employers. A healthy work environment can lead to increased productivity, higher employee retention rates, and improved morale. On the other hand, neglecting mental health concerns in the workplace can lead to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased healthcare costs.
Bottom line: mental health at work is incredibly important. It is not a luxury for employers to protect and foster better mental health in their organizations. It is an absolute necessity.