Two buzzwords that have entwined themselves into every workplace in recent years are mental health. It deserves its heightened recognition and an importance must be place on it in every workplace. Mental health is not a catch-all term. Anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating disorders, anger issues, OCD, phobias, stress disorders. The list continues. Every workplace – no matter how small or happy – will have individuals that are suffering or have suffered from mental health issues. It is vital that employers begin to take more notice and exercise compassion in these situations.
A simple ‘how are you’ or ‘is there something bothering you’ can be the start of something.
Encouraging employees to seek out their peers, highlighting any behaviour which is out of the ordinary and attempting to find workable solutions right away is important.
No one really knows how important a three-word question could be. Simplifying this stage can help to develop a positive feeling around mental health in the workplace – even if it is or isn’t present.
Creating a culture that encourages talking will not only make your workplace somewhere people want to work but help your office, site or warehouse to become the first port of call for those who are struggling.
It isn’t easy to notice mental health disorders – many disorders remain beneath the surface. That’s why there should be a responsibility placed on each employee to talk, speak out and reach out to their peers.
A Mental health does not discriminate. At work, at home, at a restaurant, on a beach on holiday, in the car, there’s no telling when mental health can take its toll. In small situations or long-term issues, mental health can affect anyone.
By each of us taking more accountability for the person next to us, that workplace culture can become a friend group culture and that can generate a real attitude shift in the wider public.
If you suspect an employee has a mental health disorder, there are a number of ways to provide support. You do not need to be an expert to start the discussion, but it is important to get to the root causes and solutions.
The wide array of support mechanisms out there in the form of NHS referrals, therapy sessions and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) could be a catalyst for good.
That change cannot come without that initial ponderous question – a question which could change someone’s life for the better.