Mental health and well-being of an employee at workplace – A known yet ignored phenomena. Most people don’t realize, but an employee’s mental health and well-being are one of the most crucial piece of a workplace puzzle. More than two third of employees in every work place hide their mental health issues from their boss and coworkers. The question here is, why do employees tend to hide the illness and anxieties all the while pretending to look normal on the outer side?
The answer is simple: stigma. Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a circumstance, quality, or person. There is a stigma surrounding showing and having signs of weaknesses. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable. In short, the ratio of people in workplace with good mental health is very low.
Depression is the number one cause of absenteeism in a workplace. When personal and professional issues leading to burn out and depression are overlooked, it leads to ‘presentism,’ where the person is psychically present in the workplace but mentally absent. It usually occurs when either issues at home or work prevents employees from being fully functional and productive at work. A question is raised here, do organizations care about a present employee or a productive one?
The key to overcome this stigma is to educate people. One of the biggest step an organization can take is by changing the culture through training and educating employees to bring down the walls of stigma and shame surrounding mental health concerns.
Providing employees with mental health awareness sessions and screenings to encourage them to come forward and seek help is the first step towards change. In general, people don’t know how to react if someone is having a mental breakdown. For example, if someone is having a panic or anxiety attack, people wouldn’t know how to react to it. Or how to help their coworker get through the situation.
Leadership plays very important role in mental health at a workplace. Managers should understand that every employee is different and unique in this own way and they should be able to support staff who are dealing with mental health issues. Education and training will also help employees better deal with their own issues as well provide support to others around them. There should be proper mental health policy in the company that encourage people to get better and prevent the stigma and discrimination such as harassment and bulling. In the end, people who look the strongest at times, need help the most. Only if we know how to understand.