Dealing with Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s an unfortunate reality that mental health subjects are still off-limits in our culture. Even though mental health is just as important as physical health, there’s still an unhealthy stigma surrounding these subjects. Many people have to cope with mental illness on a daily basis. Depression, which affects more than 300 million people worldwide, costs the global economy a trillion dollars each year. People often don’t want to discuss what they’re going through or ask for help for fear that they will be judged—especially in the workplace.

Work can be great for helping people maintain a healthy state of mind, but it can also cause stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems. A person’s satisfaction with their job can have an impact on their overall mental health. People with existing mental health problems may not be able to get the support they need because they’re afraid to talk about it. Some people may even fear that they will be fired or experience other negative consequences if they speak up. It’s important for workers to make their own mental health a priority throughout their careers and for employers to create an office culture of support and understanding.


Ensuring Your Mental Health is Well in the Workplace

Employers can make a big difference in their employees’ mental wellness by creating an open and supportive culture and offering perks that promote good mental health. This might include offering gym membership benefits, increasing vacation time, or allowing for flexible schedules so employees can get the mental healthcare they need.

Not all employers will take these steps, of course, so employees often need to take the initiative themselves to support their own mental health. Regardless of where you work, there are steps you can take to maintain a healthy state of mind in the workplace. Small breaks throughout the day, such as taking a walk or retreating to a quiet room to meditate, can really help. You should also make sure you are getting enough sleep and “unplugging” from the office (and preferably all your gadgets) on a regular basis. If you need professional mental health support, don’t be afraid to seek it out.


Knowing When Your Mental Health Is at Risk

Awareness of your own mental health is extremely important. Stress and anxiety can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t know how to recognize the signs early on. Anxiety disorders affect about 18% of American adults, and they can make it difficult to cope with everyday work responsibilities. Seeking help when you notice your mental health is at risk is crucial.

How do you know when anxiety is going beyond just normal stress and worry? There are a number of physical and mental symptoms you may notice. Sweating, trembling, intense fear, upset stomach, and constant unwanted thoughts are all signs that your anxiety is moving beyond normal levels. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for signs of depression, which may include fatigue, sadness, feelings of isolation, and loss of interest. If you feel your mental health is at risk, get help as soon as you can.


Mental Health Assistance for Veterans

Veterans have some additional challenges to contend with when they enter the civilian workforce. Almost 20 percent of military personnel who completed their tours are diagnosed with behavioral health issues. Veterans need to be particularly aware of their own mental health and employers should ideally offer these employees even more support for issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. For veterans who don’t have resources in the workplace, there are resources that are available to help American veterans maintain their mental health.


Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s time to end the stigma on talking about mental health. Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are not character flaws and people who develop these illnesses should be given the same support as people with physical health issues. Employees can take simple steps to promote their own mental wellness, but employers need to play an important role too. By ensuring that employees have access to resources and benefits that enhance mental health wellness, they can improve their culture and productivity while creating a workplace where people thrive. 

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