The vast majority of workers with mental illness can still succeed in their line of work while managing mental health problems.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Work is a major part of our lives. It is usually where we spend much of our time and often where we establish new friendships outside of the home. Having a fulfilling job has a positive impact on your mental health and general wellbeing.
Despite the misconceptions, most people living with a mental health condition can and still do work. Having a job that you truly enjoy can give you a sense of purpose, thus improving your mental health. According to studies, most people with serious mental health conditions want to work, and 6 out of 10 can succeed with the right kind of support.
Approximately 1 in every 6.8 workers will experience or are experiencing some form of mental health problems in the workplace. The most common are anxiety disorders, major depressive disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.
Depending on circumstances, certain factors can make it difficult for a person to stay or return to work. Mental illnesses can have a wide range of symptoms and signs. As a general rule, you should seek help from a counsellor or your GP if you are experiencing feelings that are:
- Putting a stop from you getting on with life
- Have a big impact on those you live or work week
- Affecting your mood or behaviour for several weeks or months
- Having thoughts of suicide.
If you have these feelings, it is important to consult with your work managers or HR team. Workplace management can help you by making the process as smooth as easy as possible.
Protecting Your Mental Health
Here’s what you can do to improve your mental health and reduce work-related stress.
Talk about your feelings
We understand that it may be hard for some people to talk about feelings, especially at work. Identify someone you feel comfortable with – it can be a co-worker you regularly talk to or a manager who is supportive.
Talking about your problems helps in maintaining good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
Recognise your triggers
Take time to recognise triggers that cause a change in your behaviour, mood, and stress level. Identify if there is a project, meeting, or a person that can send you spiralling downward. As much as possible, try to avoid anything that can trigger your anxiety and depression at work.
Take a break
A change of scene is good for your mental health. Take a break, even if it is a five-minute pause while working on a project. You can also read a book or listen to a podcast, and during the weekend, you can explore somewhere new. Give yourself a well-deserved me-time.
Keep in touch
Relationships are the key to good mental health. Working in a supportive team plays a huge role in our mental health at work. Find a trusted mentor or a small group of colleagues you can rely on. These people can provide sense checks and can help you work through challenges.
None of us are superhuman, and we all feel tired or overwhelmed with our feelings. When these feelings become too much to handle, you need to seek assistance.
Talk to your manager and employer and ask if they have employee assistance programs. Mental health programs are mostly confidential and free to access by everyone without other people finding out. You can also get assistance from your general physician (GP) or a counsellor for problems relating to mental health.
We must address mental health at work. It is vital, especially for those with existing issues and the workplace as a whole. We believe that all workplaces should be a place where everyone can thrive. With that, we also believe that employers and business plays a huge role in creating thriving communities.