Make Mental Health A Priority In The Workplace
Mental health is a huge worldwide issue that needs to be at the front and centre of every workplace. Yet, even in today’s business world, it is still rarely touched upon or discussed. Why is that?
Anxiety and stress are all too common in life. We take on too much, we work too hard, we stay behind to pick up the slack…the list goes on and on. But, mention that we are suffering because of it, or we cannot cope with the situation for whatever reason, then we are looked upon negatively or even shunned.
Following Robyn Williams death by suicide in 2014, the world was shocked. How could such a prolific and much-loved actor take his own life? Robyn had been diagnosed with DLB, a type of dementia that could affect his mood and leave him depressed. Sometimes it takes an incident like this to bring the awareness of mental health to the forefront so we can tackle it, in the workplace and at home.
No one is immune to mental health issues. It can affect men and women and kids and adults alike. With social media on the increase, it is all too easy to believe that everyone leads a perfect life as they share their enhanced photos on Facebook and Instagram. Everyone, that is, except you, right! Of course, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Open the doors and you will soon find that the seemingly ‘perfect’ person is facing their own issues. It is just taboo to mention them online for fear of what other people will think. No one wants to be stigmatised with the label of a mental health disorder, at least not publically anyway! But unless we open the doors, then the situation won’t change. More and more people like Robyn Williams will take their own lives because no one wants to talk about the truth.
So what can you do from an employee or workplace perspective? How can you open up discussions on mental health, stress and anxiety and make it a priority?
- Make work breaks mandatory in the morning and afternoon and ensure people take a lunch break so they can tackle their workload efficiently.
- Remind workers to stretch regularly and step away from their computers to rest their eyes.
- Coordinate walking clubs during lunchtime breaks and encourage stair climbs over the use of lifts or elevators.
- Bring in a mental health specialist to discuss the early signs of stress or anxiety and educate your workers on ways they can handle it.
- Invite a professional to come in and give your workers an in-office massage to reduce the buildup of stress in their bodies.
- Encourage everyone to leave the office at closing time and to avoid working on weekends.
- Ensure that everyone schedules their holidays and uses them to their full advantage.
- Give your workers an opportunity to speak without judgement if they are having issues with any aspects of their workload or position.
- Put the topic of mental health on the workplace agenda and make it a pertinent point of discussion.
- Don’t turn a blind eye if you see someone struggling with their workload.
- Recognise work efforts and show your appreciation for a job well done.
- Create a relaxing environment for all of your staff.
- Be as accommodating as possible when it comes to sick days and time off work.
- Offer healthy food alternatives over carb-laden snacks and soft drinks.
- Allow workers to have an input into how the company works, so they feel rewarded.
By tackling the issue head-on and doing your due diligence, you can ensure that your employees are well supported in their work environment. Companies which make it difficult for their staff to address such issues directly make it worse for them in the long-term. What are you doing to support your employees when it comes to mental health?