Mental Health In The Workplace: Why It Matters
Mental health issues are a real concern, especially nowadays. A lot of people are struggling with many things in their personal lives. Everyone goes through that, some more than others. It is a battle that everyone should be involved in, even employers and managers of companies and corporations.
How Do You Know if an Employee Has Mental Health Concerns?
Mental health issues can be deceiving. We have all been taken aback by news of the passing of someone we know — celebrity or not — who took their lives and found out they suffered from mental health issues. We’re shocked because these people didn’t show any visible signs of mental or emotional struggles. This is why mental health issues are traitors. You never know when someone is going through something, especially if they’re very good at putting up appearances.
However, it doesn’t mean that some people don’t show any symptoms. Observe those around you. If you see someone with the following symptoms, you might want to check up on that person. They might be going through some personal challenges.
- Unkempt appearance
- Unusual irritability
- Erratic behaviour and mood swings
- Takes or needs plenty of time-offs
- Unusual inadequate performance
- Has dramatic changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Unusual fear, worry, and anxiety
- Unexplained social isolation (and not because of COVID)
- Alcohol or substance abuse
When an employee starts to manifest one or more of the mentioned signs, the decent thing to do is ask them how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can help with. While showing one of these signs isn’t valid proof they have mental health issues (perhaps it’s just that time of the month or they’re trying on a new diet), showing some sensitivity helps uplift them. This simple gesture tells them they are valued not just as workers but as people.
Why Should Companies Care?
Many of us, especially in this present generation, have been conditioned to mind our own business and stick our noses out of others’. However, this particular mindset has led to a lot of people needlessly inflicting damage upon themselves and/or taking their lives. A person brave and stubborn enough to show genuine concern could have saved at least one life.
The question shouldn’t be “why should companies care?” but “why wouldn’t they?”
It is one thing to keep things strictly professional in a business or corporate setting, but employers and managers should understand that business is all about people. People bring in the money and add on to a company’s bottom line. We’re not just talking about the regular customers and potential clients. We’re talking about the ones who also work hard to bring in the money to the company.
The mortgage broker. The banker. The accountant. Everyone involved in the company helps bring in the money for the business. And the company owes it to them to ensure they are watched over and taken care of.
Plus, it is the right thing to do. Put profit and the numbers aside. Caring for people is the right and humane thing to do. Employees need to know and feel that they are not just seen as money-makers but as people who have real needs and concerns. Showing compassion to them not only boosts their confidence but could also save them from destruction.
How Can Companies Support Workers’ Mental Health Concerns?
Given the importance of a person’s mental health, companies should take a more active approach to ensure their workers get adequate support for this issue. Here are a few ways that employers can help out:
Have a better understanding of how mental health issues affect employees
Awareness isn’t enough. A clearer and better understanding of mental health issues gives companies the upper hand on this growing societal concern.
Include mental health care as part of the company’s health plan coverage
While most health plans are sufficient, the changing times show us an increase in the number of people experiencing depression and anxiety. Including mental health coverage as part of the company’s health plans would help bring the number down.
Provide greater access to mental health resources
In most cases, people suffer in silence because access to mental health resources is lacking. Provide training in dealing with mental health issues to managers, supervisors, and the higher-ups. Create an employee assistance program for those who have mental health concerns.
Build and establish a culture of wellness
Build a culture that promotes employee well-being by encouraging them to take their days off and vacations. Come up with a wellness program for the entire company. Work on a system that gives employees greater flexibility, especially during this pandemic. Create opportunities where people can connect and build the emotional network and support they need.
Kindness and compassion never go out of style. They never get outdated and always remain relevant. Showing some sensitivity and extending mercy to people can go a long way in the battle against mental health illness.
If you know someone going through some tough internal battles, it won’t hurt you to be nice to them. As usual, kindness goes a long way. If you know someone in a serious battle with depression and anxiety, get them the professional help they need. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you’re in the US or find out your suicide helpline in your country at IASP.