Work is great for one’s mind, but a toxic work environment can take a toll on an employee’s physical and mental health. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma around clinical depression and many fail to realize that depression not only affects the employee’s mental health, but it can also have a negative impact on their productivity. With awareness of mental health on the rise, it’s more important than ever for employers to be more attentive towards those with a mental illness at work. The workforce management team at Trackforce Valiant offers some guidance on how to address mental health in the workplace.
Why Is Mental Health Important in the Workplace?
Failure to address mental health in the workplace can bring on more negative results than you may think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is projected to be the largest contributor to global disease burden by 2030,  meaning poor mental health eventually brings on poor physical health, lowering an employee’s physical capabilities and daily functioning. With their physical health on a slow decline, it can also interfere with communication with colleagues, engagement in work, and overall job performance. In fact, depression has a significant impact on the global economy, costing US$1 trillion annually in lost productivity,  so taking on a more proactive stance to address mental health in the workplace will also save your company millions.
Dealing with mental health issues in the workplace can also reduce the likelihood of an employee succumbing to the epidemic of suicide. Depression is also known as the primary reason why someone commits suicide every 12 minutes in the United States – over 40,000 Americans every year.  Focusing on mental health in the workplace will help you spot the warning signs of suicide such as increased anger or aggression and isolation.
How Do You Address Mental Health in The Workplace?
Discussing mental health in the workplace is not an easy conversation. However, to increase employee morale and overall job performance, you’ll need to start somewhere, and given the statistics, chances are that some of your own employees are already struggling with mental health. One way to address mental health in the workplace is to open the lines of communication to both increase the employees’ awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and make everyone feel heard. For example, schedule a day to bring in an experienced mental health professional to educate everyone on the signs and symptoms of mental health problems. This will open the floor up for any questions employees may have while diminishing the stigma around mental illness in order to facilitate a conversation on mental health.
What Can Companies Do to Support Mental Health?
There are many ways you can support mental health in the workplace to better employee morale and job performance. Establishing employee wellness programs will not only support mental health, but it can also improve the overall fitness and company culture. Prioritizing wellness will not only lift the overall mood of the work environment but it can also cut back on healthcare costs.
Also, keep an eye out for signs of a toxic work environment to improve the mental health and productivity in the workplace. If you catch wind of rumors flying, verbal abuse, prevalent negativity, or other red flags, put a stop to it. These red flags will only contribute to a decline in job performance and mental health.
Sources: World Health Organization – Depression: A Global Crisis  World Health Organization – Mental health in the workplace  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Preventing Suicide