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I recently read a book about the meaning of Workplace Mental Health Initiatives and would like to share what I obtained from it with you in this article.

According to the latest figures from MIND, the mental health charity for England and Wales, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health issue each year. Mental Health America’s most recent report revealed the figures for the USA are one in five adults having issues, equating to more than 40 million Americans. Anxiety, stress and depression are becoming exceedingly common problems for employers in today’s working environment. More than ever employees state that they feel they have to give everything to their job and their personal lives – which means that health can often come in second place. Not giving enough feedback may be because an employee is afraid of speaking out. Mental health disorders are very common and rising. This causes human suffering and depletes the economic vitality of communities and nations. Successful and sustained change requires that employees understand their own state of mental health and wellbeing as well as recognising and supporting colleagues. Mental health is critical for an engaged, productive, and effective workplace. As an employer or manager, you can take steps to be more accepting, understanding, and supportive of those who've got mental health issues.

.Workplace Mental Health Initiatives.

The barriers that prevent people with mental health conditions from finding and keeping paid work include people’s own lack of confidence that they can cope with work. Phrases such as “work-life integration” have been developed to capture the interactive nature of the components of our lives. Research demonstrates that poor work-life integration can result in negative mental health including depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout. Similarly, mental health can impact the broader workplace through poor work performance, turnover, and organizational costs, and can negatively affect relationships, daily functioning, and personal health. Stress is an adverse reaction to excessive pressures or demands in your work life, home life or both. Prolonged periods of stress can adversely affect the way you feel, your behaviour and your health. At work, it is vital that your employer addresses stress by tackling the root causes of any stress that your work is causing or exacerbating. Modern executives have leaned into workplace culture trends as a means of addressing rising stress levels, dwindling work-life balance and cries for more reasonable schedules. They’ve adopted open floor plans, dog-friendly policies and healthy snack cabinets. They’ve encouraged team outings and hosted mindfulness events. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing support in your organisation.

Communicate More Than You Think You Need To

A health-focused culture in an organisation improves employee wellbeing and leads to higher job satisfaction and retention. The use of safe, respectful, and inclusive language is key to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Perceptions of a “good” organizational climate are significantly associated with positive employee mental health outcomes such as lower levels of burnout, depression, and anxiety. Organisations should produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan and develop mental health awareness among employees. Open conversations about mental health should be encouraged and support should be available when employees are struggling. Employees should have good working conditions, effective people management should be promoted and employee mental health and wellbeing should be routinely monitored. If you are feeling signs of stress at work, it is important to talk to someone, for example your manager. If you talk to them as soon as possible, it will give them the chance to help and stop the situation getting worse. Our experience at work contributes heavily to our thoughts, emotions, and feelings, which contributes to the quality of our overall mental wellbeing. Naturally, people who experience a toxic work environment have poor mental wellbeing, which translates to poor decision-making, communication, team work, leadership, and overall productivity. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as workplace wellbeing ideas should be welcomed in the working environment.

Due to the stigma attached to mental illness, people who've got mental health issues often experience discrimination. The other side of the coin is that discrimination contributes to mental illness. Multiple research studies have consistently shown that the chronic experience of discrimination can cause a person to develop low-esteem. The extent of poor mental wellbeing is prevalent within organisations and businesses, with 53% of workers self-reporting that they have struggled with their mental wellbeing before. And this is not only impacting employees personal lives, but also their work, with 80% of those who have struggled with their mental wellbeing before saying it impacts their work People’s mental health fluctuates in the same way as their physical health. It’s normal for people to experience some periods of poor mental health and for performance to dip at times in line with this. Unfortunately, employees around the world don’t think their companies are doing enough to improve mental wellbeing — 76% believe their organizations should be doing more. Employer action on mental health is intrinsically measurable. Increased transparency will go a long way to generating a culture of measurement and will enable the development of voluntary ranking schemes to help drive accountability and further improvement. Discussing ideas such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

Create Opportunities For Coaching, Learning And Development

Work plays a strong role in our mental health and wellbeing. There is a Maori proverb that 'work brings health' and the Royal College of Psychiatrists claims that work is central to many people's happiness. Work is better for the economy – specialist employment support more than pays for itself by reducing the numbers of people claiming long-term disability and unemployment benefits. None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. Personality disorder is a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause you long-standing problems in your life. If you have this diagnosis, it doesn’t mean that you’re fundamentally different from other people – but you may regularly experience difficulties with how you think about yourself and others, and find it very difficult to change these unwanted patterns. When someone shares that they’re struggling, you won’t always know what to say or do. What’s most important is to make space to hear how your team members are truly doing and to be compassionate. They may not want to share much detail, which is completely fine. Knowing that they can is what matters. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around employers duty of care mental health need planning and implementing properly.

Nine out of 10 employers have expanded mental health benefits in the last year, but upward of three-quarters of the workforce believes their mental health is not well supported. Telehealth and digital solutions are on the rise, but out of more than 20,000 mental health apps in the marketplace, only 6 percent of app companies that claim to have an evidence-based framework have actually published said evidence. Problems relating to mental health in the workplace are the second-biggest health issue in Asia Pacific in terms of years lost to disability. In Australia and New Zealand, the annual estimated total cost of mental illness is 3.5 percent and 5 percent of GDP respectively. An EIU study also estimated that within the next ten years, the fall out from mental health issues will reduce economic growth in India and China by around 11 trillion USD. Once you’ve identified the main stressors in the workplace, make it a priority to address employee mental health in the workplace. If flexible hours or telecommuting will help people juggle work and life, get on it. If resources are an issue, staff up, contract out, add budget or shift gears to put some projects on hold. We have seen a growing awareness around emotional health, but slow progress in some areas. Interventions and good practices that protect and promote mental health in the workplace include informing staff that support is available. Subjects such as managing employees with mental health issues can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.

Mental Health Friendly Workplaces

Talking to real people anonymously in a safe environment is an essential part of managing mental health in the workplace and often preventative – helping people express themselves before feelings become overwhelming. Even with the most robust preventative plans, it is likely some people will still experience mental health problems, for a range of factors, so it is also essential for every business to know how to provide support. This might include knowing how to spot the early warning signs, being confident to signpost colleagues to appropriate support, how to make adjustments to someone’s work or role, and ensuring there is a process to help people return to work smoothly after a sickness absence. Workplace well-being isn’t just a measure of physical well-being metrics like nutrition, exercise, biometrics and sleep quality. It’s more holistic and includes a focus on mental health in the workplace. One can unearth extra info regarding Workplace Mental Health Initiatives on this World Health Organisation page.

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