Updated 10 January 2022

When we talk about mental health, it is usually seen as an individual affair but mental health is a concern for the entire society. More so, mental health is an important discussion in the workplace as many people find themselves in triggering situations during office hours.

Much like physical health, it is also important for employees to be of sound mental health so they can not only perform their best in the workplace but also sustain a good enriching life. Many people around us suffer mental health conditions that are brought on by stimuli around the office. The workplace can be a place of stress for many employees, which can result in problems not just for the employees themselves but also for the company.

Causes of Stress in the Work Place

There are many causes of stress in the workplace, let’s take a look at some examples:

Bad Management

One of the biggest contributors to stress in the workplace is bad management. If a company is poorly managed, many problems can arise such as the disparity in job-related roles, confusing instructions, and lack of structure. All of these can contribute to work-related stress that can, later on, expand into mental health concerns.

Excessive Workload

If employees are given excessive workload consistently, they might have high-stress levels and that can, in turn, result in mental health problems. It is important for companies to gauge how much work their employees can handle and that can help maintain a healthy work balance so that the employees are not burned out.

Tough Working Conditions

Difficult working conditions can hinder the way your employees work, they might not be able to complete their work on time or like they should. This can be stressful for them as they might not achieve their goals. Tough working conditions can be an added stress that is easy to expand into mental health concerns. In such cases, it is important for companies to provide good working conditions so that employees can give their 100% output.

Discrimination

In today’s world discrimination is a very common dialogue as its examples and effects can be seen everywhere, even in the workplace. If an employee is facing discrimination, they might not be able to give their best to their jobs and that will only add to their stress. Discrimination can have negative effects on a person’s well being which is why it is very important for companies to curb it.

Harassment

Harassment in the workplace can result in several problems for an individual employee. Harassment can be a life-altering event and if a workplace environment is not strict with its anti-harassment laws. It is very important for companies to be considerate of harassment cases and ensure that such instances are dealt with no tolerance policies to safeguard employees.

How Can Workplaces Ensure Good Mental health?

As a company it is important for you to ensure that your employees have good mental health and to ensure that, here some things they can try:

Remove the Taboo from Mental health

You should be able to provide a safe place for your employees so that they don’t have to hide their mental health problems but discuss them without having the fear that they will have to face judgment for their issues. A company should openly talk about their mental health issues so there is no taboo about them. If the company is accepting of mental health issues it will help employees address their concerns and hopefully get the help they need.

Introduce mental health Policies

Since your employees are your biggest asset, it is only fair for you to come up with policies that can help your employees with their mental health concerns. For instance, the human resource department of a company can come up with effective policies that can help employees understand their mental health issues and address them in a fruitful way.

Harassment or cases of bullying against employees who are suffering from mental health problems should not be tolerated.

Promote Balance between Work and Personal Life

Work-life balance is very essential to live a stable life. If you want to promote good mental health in your employees it is essential that you trust your employees to avoid taking their work home. Work should always remain within work hours so that your employees can go home, give time to their families and to their loved ones.

It is also important for companies to understand that they should not reach out to their employees after work hours as that time is for their families and themselves. Keep reinforcing to your employees that they should keep working for the office and their family affairs for when they are at home.

Introduce Recreational Activities for Your Employees

A healthy workplace environment consists of fun recreational activities that help increase employee engagement. More and more employees should be able to engage with the activities so they are able to build healthy relationships with other employees and their superiors. This helps employees in engaging with healthy team-building exercises that are not only beneficial for the employees themselves but also for the company.

Original Blog and information from February 2019 – still relevant today and worth a continued read.

  • What is mental health & well-being?
  • Importance
  • Reasons
  • Bad effects of poor mental health well-being on Organization
  • Some facts and figures
  • Global ways to improve mental health well-being
  • Future recommendation regarding mental health well-being
Feb 2019 Mental Health in the workplace - Importance of Mental health at Work

Employee mental & health well-being is an essential factor in our modern workplace’s and its non-existence can cause variety of physical illness such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, headache,  burnout, back pain, disturbances, gastrointestinal, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and different minor illness and it can also cause psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, loss of focus and deduction in decision making skills. Seem harsh to blame all this on a workplace HOWEVER Work-related stress has directly positive impact on absenteeism, medical cost, staff turnover, human error and negative impact on productivity & profit and employee morale.

Stress can be caused by extra work load demands. Although work demand pressure also causes motivation, there is a clear differences between pressure that causes motivation or pressure that cause stress. According to researchers, Level of Risk that causes stress is also different in one occupation to another. Higher stress level means higher hazard for mental ill health. The decrease in Employee mental health & well-being is a worldwide issue.  In the Netherlands 58% of work related issues has been recorded as being because of mental health disabilities and In UK 30%-40% of sickness absence is because of stress. Work related stress is very expensive for employees in the US as an example as employee mental and health well-being cost is twice than all other medical cost. Depression patients claims almost $14,967 USD medical bill an year, compared with $5,929 a year for the total population. This really does show a stark need for having a mandatory requirement to make some efforts to improve employee mental health and well-being.

ABS National surveys of Mental & health well-being reports that around 65,000 suicide attempts are made a year in Australia. 38,000 of this  total is linked back to or is because of the Australian health system. The reason behind these 38,000 suicide attempts have been recorded as being pain, depression and internal torture. Professor Robert Goldney from the University of Adelaide concluded in his book, Suicide Prevention,  that More than 70% suicide attempts are because of clinical depression.

This may seem all to daunting for business owners but there are many ways to improve mental and health well being in your workplace. Employers arrange wellness programs that increase physical health. Employers are starting to give more importance to support employees  and this will go a long way in the  increase in their mental health, well being and improve social, emotional and financial aspects.

There are Employee Well-being Awards ceremonies as well that also motivate employers to maintain employee well-being. Swisse Wellness has been recognised as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2016. Swisse made it their mission to promote health in the wider community through the provision of their products, but this also extends to their internal focus.

Work Stress Scale (WSS) is an instrument to estimate the work related stress so that it can be controlled. WSS allows an individual to evaluate degree the of stress in different domains such as work, family, conflict, poor job prospects, relationship problems with colleagues, relationship problems with superior, performance pressure and bureaucratic constraints.  Employers are planning and working towards making mental health their top priority.

Mental Health Council of Australia’s (MHCA) is a strategic publication which focuses on Mental Health & Well-being in Australia. This publication emphasizes on significant incidents regarding Australian employee mental health in multiple sectors. The best thing about MHCA is its better contribution that is not only in addressing problems but to resolve the problems effectively as well. Its aim is to truly improve the millions of employee’s mental health well-being of physical and psychological concerns.