How can we help protect employees’ mental health?

In the previous text, we talked about what the current situation is with the frequency of occurrence of psychological problems and how it affects organizations. We also talked about why at organizations are in a good place to take care of employees’ mental health. In this text, we will address how we can help maintain and improve the mental health, both of our colleagues and our subordinates, but also at the level of the entire organization and even society.

What can we do about our own mental health?

We will hardly be able to help others if we ourselves do not know how to work on our own mental health. Mental health care is something we have to do every day, through small steps. If we feel that our mental health is good, we will find it easier to face the challenges that life puts in front of us, we will find it easier to realize our own potentials, and we will have more fulfilled interpersonal relationships, both at work and in private life.

  • We need to accept ourselves. We probably know that each individual is special in some way. Most of us probably don’t fall into clearly defined categories, at least not completely. Accepting ourselves, including our positive and negative sides, is essential in dealing with psychological problems.
  • Focus on the things you are good at! We should always leave time in life for activities that we enjoy and that go well for us. They help us deal with stress and forget our problems.
  • Watch your diet! Food is the fuel that drives us. We cannot expect to be healthy, happy and productive if we consume too little or too much food, or consume food that does not meet all the needs of our body. Also watch what you drink. Avoid drinks full of sugar and consume alcohol in moderation.
  • Take a break from time to time! Even short breaks during the work day can help us focus better on work tasks later. Also, from time to time we should take advantage of days off to take care of mental health, if that is the option that is offered to us.
  • It is necessary to maintain a certain level of physical activity. In addition to positively affecting our self-esteem, physical activity can also improve our concentration and sleep. It is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of some physical activity five times a week. We can even include physical activities such as walking in a regular work day, especially if we do office work and spend most of our time sitting at the computer.
  • It is important to talk openly about how we feel. Openness is the first step in dealing with mental health issues. That way we can get support from colleagues and superiors. Our openness may encourage other employees to be open about their mental health.
  • Be careful to maintain good interpersonal relationships! In the rush of modern life, it is easy to forget about friends and other people close to us. Try to take time for them too!
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help, or to offer it to others!

How to help colleagues and other employees?

If we are in an organization in any position that gives us a certain level of authority and influence, through a few steps we can help other employees fight mental health problems and we can help create a positive and stimulating work environment where all our colleagues can reach their full potential.

  • Learn how mental health problems affect other employees. It is also important to learn how to recognize problems of this kind in employees, and how to approach them adequately.
  • Work on developing programs within the organization that focus onr the mental health of employees.
  • Communicate openly with employees about mental health to raise awareness of the critical importance of mental health care. This approach reduces the stigma surrounding mental health conversations.
  • If possible, encourage workers to take days off to rest and take care of their mental health. Short-term absences of this kind will pay off in the long run!
  • Make sure employees are given access to mental health care resources. Also make sure that these resources are relevant, and offer modern solutions to employee problems. Try to encourage colleagues to get involved in educational programs on the topic of mental health, in order to increase the general level of information on this topic.
  • Strive to create a work climate and culture that is positive, encourages productivity, transparency and a relationship full of trust between employees among themselves and between employees and superiors.
  • At the organization level, make an effort to promote self-care and general care for all aspects of mental and physical health.
  • In all of the above, try to involve all employees, mental health care starts from the top of the organization.
  • Try to orient yourself towards the positive in every situation, and encourage others to do the same!

Even if we love our job, and feel that all our needs are met in the workplace, sometimes we need a break from work. So next week we will talk about vacations, travel and how they can affect our mental health.

SOURCES:

10 ways to improve mental health in your workplace. LifeSpeak. (2018). https://lifespeak.com/10-ways-to-improve-mental-health-in-your-workplace/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Mental Health in the Workplace. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html.

How to support mental health at work. Mental Health Foundation. (2020). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work.

Rawe, J. (2021). Workplace mental health: 5 ways to support employee wellness. Understood. https://www.understood.org/articles/en/workplace-mental-health-5-ways-to-support-employee-wellness.

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