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October 10 is World Mental Health Day, a day not for dwelling on our differences, but instead focusing on the common goals that unite us. This year those goals are aimed towards mental health in the workplace.
As adults, we spend a significant amount of time at work, therefore our experience at work has a strong hand in determining our overall health. Employees involved in workplace initiatives designed to promote mental health have not only reported increased mood and physical health but an increase in productivity as well. On the other hand, those who report a negative experience and heavy stressful workloads with unreasonable expectations at work are more likely to experience physical and mental health problems, dropping productivity, and even increasing substance abuse problems.
This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing this year’s world mental health day on the workplace. In order to make the workplace a healthy one, both the institution and employees must be aware of the workplace environment and how it may be adapted to promote mental health. Here are some key facts to know about the correlation between mental health and the workplace.
Following the principles of this guide, there are a number of smaller actions that both the business and the employee can take that can have far-reaching results toward building a healthy workplace, such as:
Since we do spend a substantial amount of time at work, it is important for the workplace to be a safe place to talk about mental illness. Organizations have a responsibility to support individuals with mental disorders in either continuing or returning to work. A combination of the above-outlined actions can help individuals with mental disorders continue or return to work, most specifically flexible hours, job adaptation, positive workplace atmosphere, and supportive connection and confidential communication with management. Because of the stigma often associated with mental disorders, organizations, especially employers, need to ensure that employees feel supported, welcome, and able to ask for help in returning to or continuing work, and that they have the necessary resources available to do their job well, and maintain a healthy and happy working environment.