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Encouraging Positive Mental Health in the Workplace

Posted by Peter Colley on 11-May-2017 15:40:13

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Mental Health is high on the agenda this week. In support of 'Mental Health Week' we are taking a closer look at mental health in the workplace. It may be a taboo subject, but there are small, simple steps you can take to support your employees.

Mental health is an all-encompassing concept. It can catch us off guard, leaving us in a perpetual state of anxiety or depression. 

And no matter how hard we try, we can’t always hide it. Whether speaking flatly, withdrawing from social interaction or coming across as mildly on edge, there is always something bubbling away at the surface, threatening to emotionally derail a person. 

The workplace is a notable environment to spot these bubbling anxieties and provide employees with a safe place to keep them grounded. 

Mental health doesn’t always depict itself in the extremes you may be familiar with from the media. A person doesn’t have to be an emotional volcano to struggle in day-to-day life. In many cases, it’s about identifying some of the early trigger signs. 

Some of the early warning signs of poor mental health include:  

  • Struggling with skills such as time-keeping. 
  • Frequent headaches 
  • Constantly fatigued and tired. 
  • Withdrawing from social interaction. 
  • Unusual displays of emotion.  

If you notice any of these signs in an employee  there are various ways you can support them, including:  

  • Sitting quietly with them and giving them the chance to share their worries. 
  • Move them to a private part of the building if they feel conscious about talking in front of the whole team. 
  • Let them know about any support or activities that you think might benefit them and alleviate their stresses. 

The most important thing a team can do is put an employee at ease over talking about any mental difficulties they may be experiencing. There is a damaging stigma surrounding mental health. Time to Change reported that 9 in 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma or discrimination. Some people would rather suffer in silence than confide in others and get the necessary help. 

You don’t have to be an expert in mental health to help an employee experiencing difficulties with it. But if you do notice something amiss, even if there’s a reasonable explanation, you’re creating a platform to help them feel safe. 

Mental Health is an issue every day, not just during Mental Health Week. Let's start the conversation and start breaking down the stigma around it. 

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Topics: Workforce communication, Employee engagement, communication, mental awareness