How Is Your Mental Health?
The tragic passing of Robin Williams has had a major impact on the world but in the midst of the grief comes one little spark of hope. He has triggered a new and improved awareness of the importance of mental health. As business owners, we need to step back and take a look at our own mental health and how we are (or are not) caring for it.
According to recent research results in the field of mental health, businesses around the world are experiencing heavy financial loss as a result of their own personal mental health problems and that of their employees; and Australia is no exception with an estimated loss of $10.9 billion per year. The sum is significant, but specialists explain that it may not be inclusive of the mental health costs paid by small business that are often not taken into consideration.
If you are wondering where all these costs come from, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health explains in further detail – mentally healthy employees will save you the costs for mental health treatment, which will lower the total medical expenses for your business. In addition, you will save on disability costs as well as from all the expenses related to absenteeism and decreased productivity.
As you see, problems with mental health issues will not only cause significant medical expenses, but will also compromise the overall ability of individuals to work. If not dealt with appropriately, depression and anxiety may be fatal for the innovation and creativity of your employees and can even make going to work a terrible and frustrating experience. Leanne Faulkner’s story is a typical example of this; the problems with her business resulted in a situational depression which turned her life – both professional and personal – into a nightmare.
So what should business owners do to avoid Leanne’s problems? To start with, be aware. Accept the fact that it can happen to you and it is not something you only read about in articles. Mental health problems can sometimes be hard to deal with, but they will not disappear by themselves, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you find yourself behaving in a different way, especially in relation to your work, ask yourself if you are feeling well and if you have some of the typical depression and anxiety symptoms – unexplainable mood changes, tantrums, sleep problems and chest pains. If even one of these signs is present, make sure you consult a specialist.
Apart from all that, you need to remember to live outside your business. We have all heard of people obsessed with their business life and forgetting to socialise and to enjoy life. However, business is business, and it is bound to have problems – with strategy, cash flow, vision and what-not. But the best way to preserve your mental health is to be able to bear failure and keep on. Make sure you have friends at work, even if they are your employees (to remind you to take a break) and balance it with friends outside of work (you don’t need to think about figures and sales at all times).
If you enjoy a balanced life and take into consideration all the tips above, life will be more stress-free. If you ever feel something is wrong and you need to share with someone, call Lifeline anonymously on 13 11 14 – someone will always be there for you. Often talking to someone allows you to understand your feelings more and it can be a load off your mind as well as your shoulders.