Mental health issues in the workplace

Mental health issues in the workplace

We devote a large part of our life to work, our experience in it being a factor capable of determining our general well-being. While it is true that work is beneficial for our mental health, living in a hostile work environment can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

According to the (WHO), mental health is a state of well-being in which the person is able to develop their abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and contribute to their community.

Beyond the popularly known physical or ergonomic risks, there are the so-called psychosocial risks, which pose significant difficulties in the field of safety and health at work, capable of influencing the well-being and happiness of workers, but also in the proper functioning and productivity of companies. 

We all have to be grown-ups, work, and produce, be functional members within our environment, but what happens when our productive activity turns into ritual murder? And an even more significant question: How can we improve this?

Let’s end prejudice.

Although we have come a long way on the subject, it is surprising how much prejudice we still have regarding mental health at work. In most corporations, this issue is neglected and suffered in silence by millions of employees around the world.

Mental health is the initial thing we put aside when we plunge into work. You have to start by comprehending that to work. It is not sufficient that your undertakings are preceded by years of knowledge and experience. It is also obligatory that your body is relaxed, fed, and in the right mental state because without this, your physical health and experience will not be adequate to make your work something pleasant and satisfying.

Mobbing or workplace harassment.

The term mobbing is principally what we already know as bullying: a recurrent attack on an individual or group of people, even if it is without intention to annoy or offend. Only that it is precise for work environments and if it is justified with a “well we get along,” “you can’t take anything,” “just kidding.

Not only does mobbing affect job performance, but workers may have major emotional or psychological problems and even decide to leave their workplaces.

This concern is becoming more and more common, and being adults, it is very little addressed. In the end, fighting to mobbing is challenging because:

It is very composite to control the behaviors of employees even when they become destructive to the mental health of their co-workers.

It is much more problematic to report these kinds of attitudes, since the people who are sufferers may be fearful of losing their jobs, especially if the harasser has a higher position.

Measures to promote mental health in the workplace.

The work environment and the way work is organized and managed, have a direct influence on the mental health of workers. Therefore, having social support, having the feeling of inclusion, finding meaning in one’s work, or being able to organize and make decisions are some of the factors that promote good mental health in employees.

In the world, mental disorders are the second most common health problem at work. For this reason, organizations must take an active role in this area, applying adequate measures to promote mental health in the workplace, which contribute to the mental well-being of workers, the reduction of absenteeism from work, and the increase in the productivity of workers.

1. Normalize mental health in the company

Actively combat the stigmatization and invisibility of these types of problems, naturalizing them and providing support to employees. Generate a culture of acceptance and support, informing workers of the possibility they have to ask for help.

2. Detect, discuss problems and find solutions

Allocate resources and spaces to talk about mental health problems, promoting employee participation.

3. Reduce work-related risk factors

Become aware of the work environment and how it can be adapted to promote an improvement in the mental health of employees.

4. Promote programs to promote healthy habits

Promote self-awareness, healthy life, a balanced diet, and physical exercise.

5. Encourage positive behaviors

Develop the positive aspects of the job, in addition to the qualities and capacities of the employees. Professional and personal competencies, such as communication, empathy, or assertiveness, are fundamental aspects of the mental health of employees.

6. Implement psychological help programs

Offer professional advice and psychological care services to employees, providing them with tools to manage stress appropriately.

Mental health interventions should be part of an integrated health and wellness strategy that encompasses the prevention, early detection, support, and return to work. The key to success is to involve stakeholders and staff at all levels, not only when carrying out protection, advocacy, and support interventions, but also when evaluating their effectiveness.

Mental health in the workplace, everyone’s responsibility.

Making workplaces healthy environments is not a trivial matter and brings many more benefits than we think. It benefits employees, society, and, above all, the companies themselves. And is that the cost of mental health problems associated with the place and work conditions is very high.

Today it is true that there is a paradigm shift in the current work environment, conditioned by different social, economic, labor, cultural, and human factors and in which working people find themselves in a continuously changing, complex, competitive, and demanding context. This new scenario, which is increasingly impacting our mental health, requires an effort by companies and organizations to adapt, prepare, and “take care” of their human capital (people).

And it is that nowadays, work problems have a tremendous impact on our mental health.

So we believe it is essential (and urgent) to develop a business culture of health and well-being that pays both attention to the prevention of disorders mental health and the labor integration of people with mental health problems.

There is no absolute definition of “good work.” However, it does seem that the different scales with which we usually measure them coincide in pointing out as key factors that people feel valued, that our opinion is taken into account, that the organization is flexible, that there is a good environment, that it is a safe place and pleasant and receive fair treatment at the level of salary and recognition.

These factors, adequately combined, will contribute to keeping our mental health at optimal levels since, in case of having a problem of these characteristics, we can find the support and a healthy environment to be able to recover our vital project.

Employers, employees, and employed persons, each in their own position, can actively contribute to making the workplace a healthy and positive environment for the well-being of all people. Taking care of mental health at work is everyone’s responsibility.

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