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    Mental health plays an integral role in the quality of life that we live in on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is positive, negative, or neutral mental health, it can have a ripple effect throughout various aspects of life. Neglecting to address it or putting it on the back burner will result in a variety of trials for the individual affected, as well as the surrounding environment. Mentally ill individuals are not the only ones affected by this; the general atmosphere is also affected. There is no doubt that this is especially true in the workplace.

    The Importance Of Mental Health At Work

    Bringing mental health awareness into the workplace is something that organizations may fail to realize is important, especially when it comes to the wellbeing of their employees. Work environments can adversely affect mental health, not only in specific roles, but also in general. However, it is important to note that regardless of the role, mental health is of equal importance to everyone. Additionally, the organization should recognize when there is a need for absolute awareness in order to assist their employees. Affected employees can have a similar effect on other employees as well as the workplace as a whole. There is no doubt that workplace mental health is understated and requires people to be more aware of its importance.

    The month of October is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. In spite of the fact that October is well on its way out the door and November is approaching at Mach five speed, mental health awareness should not be forgotten. Quite the contrary, in fact. Despite mental health being removed from the spotlight, it is imperative that organizations continue to focus on how to improve the mental health of their employees.

    Positive mental health is fundamental to the well-being of all employees, regardless of their workplace. In spite of this, navigating through the swarm of issues that can sometimes surround everyday lives can prove to be quite challenging, even for those with extensive mental health experience.

    Who Suffers?

    Because no one is perfect, negative mental health is common. Approximately one in four adults suffer from this condition. Despite their best efforts, some individuals are not able to maintain an overall positive mental health. With all of the pressures imposed by society, this is to be expected. There will always be “bad days” for everyone, and that is to be expected.

    What types of mental health problems are prevalent in the workplace? It would be more appropriate to ask which ones do not. Among the most common are:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (also commonly known as OCD)

    While there are several hundred more, these are the most widely recognized and affect the majority of employees at the workplace. Depending on the profession and work environment, the type of mental illness may vary. The type of mental health problem at hand may also be influenced by external factors. 

    The most important aspect is to understand that everyone faces their own battles. Genetics play a significant role in some people’s ability to handle it better than others. In order to bring awareness to the table, it is essential that we speak out with those who are important to us inside and outside of the workplace. No matter how vile the aspects can be, it is a necessary evil we must confront in order to improve ourselves as a whole. Workplaces are no different.

    Encouraging A Healthier Workplace

    A positive flow of mental health at work will lead to a healthier work environment for all employees. In order to encourage employees in a positive manner, it is important to allow them to open up and speak freely about their experiences, challenges, and setbacks. As a result, a positive workplace environment will be fostered, and employees will be freed from the stigma that may accompany mental illness. Historically, stigmas have been associated with mental illnesses. Those days, however, are gone. In contrast to COVID, mental illnesses or unhealthy mental health tendencies cannot be spread from one individual to another.

    The importance of encouraging employees to maintain a healthy mental health at work cannot be overstated. Additionally, this includes the notion that their mental health is also affected by external factors, such as their family and home life. This is not always the case, especially when employees do not express themselves at work. Mental illness is not something you wear on your t-shirt or can be recognized from a distance, and most people are capable of faking a smile at work for as long as necessary so there is no speculation that anything is amiss.

    Asserting awareness into everyday best practices requires organizations to be bold. In addition to investing in your own brand, it is important to invest in others’ wellbeing. An organization-wide mental health awareness program may be just what is required to ensure that employees have a positive mental health at work. However, if this does not appear to work, there are alternatives that may boost employee morale on a mental level. There is no substitute for awareness. The process of promoting awareness begins with education. Employees should be educated on what this is, why it is important to the organization (and to themselves), and what they can do to enhance their own performance.

    As with anything, communication is of paramount importance. To ensure that everyone understands what they are facing, begin at the top of the organization and work your way down. The idea of mental health should be normalized. As a result, people are able to cope in a comfortable and healthy manner.

    Recognize The Signs

    By normalizing workplace mental health, an environment of inclusion will be created. A sense of discomfort is eliminated throughout the organization as a result.

    Identifying the signs of poor mental health is essential to fostering an environment of positive workplace mental health. By doing so, organizations will be able to provide employees with the assistance they require, especially when they are most in need. Signs are often a cry for help, without actually uttering the word. It is important to be aware of the warning signs that may appear in one way or another.

    • Loss of interest in work
    • Fatigue
    • Additional sick time taken
    • Troubled sleep cycles
    • Lack of concentration
    • Slower ability to complete work-related tasks
    • Excessive worry
    • Irritability
    • Change in appetite
    • Carelessness

    A person’s ability to recognize warning signs can make a significant difference. This will enable organizations to provide treatment assistance. In-office assistance is not the only form of assistance available. Mental health should be incorporated into individualized health plans through work. This will ensure that the individual(s) has access to the appropriate type of help and treatment in order to create a better version of themselves.

    Closing Thoughts

    Positive mental health in the workplace may not be a topic that is often discussed, especially in larger organizations, but that does not mean it should be ignored. In order to foster an inclusive environment for all, awareness is the first step. Aside from awareness, it is essential to establish a plan to help everyone feel appreciated, even when their mental health is less than ideal. Recognize the signs, discuss them, and take action. There is no such thing as too little help, and it might just be the difference between someone going over the edge and never returning.

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