The Importance of Educating People on Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health in the workplace is something that should be taken seriously but is often overlooked. This is possibly due to not knowing how to approach someone about it. Sometimes just plainly miss the tell-tale signs that someone may be struggling. The effects of someone suffering from ill mental health in the workplace leads to problems and other complications for the employee and other members of staff. Below we will explore the importance of educating workplaces on mental health. 

What could cause mental health issues within the workplace?

Mental health issues are not solely caused in the workplace; there may be varying factors in life that contribute to them. However, some of the causes within the workplace could stem from an employee feeling isolated within a team they may work in, or they may be closed off from others due to low self-esteem. Pressure from management is a major cause as deadlines are demanded to be met, or more responsibility is put on them. It could also be from an employee simply struggling with anxiety. Mental health issues can be caused by a variety of things or can stem from nothing in particular. But what remains really important, is educating yourself on mental health.

Here are 5 reasons why it is important to be educated on mental health in the workplace.

1. An increase in productivity and performance

By being educated on mental health in the workplace, you can help any employee who may be suffering increase their productivity and performance. Sometimes when a person is dealing with mental health issues, it naturally lowers productivity either through fear of getting something wrong or simply not having the enthusiasm or motivation to do anything. It can cause work standards to drop and then have an impact on a person’s reputation as a worker.

It makes a great difference if an employee knows that there is someone they can talk to. Especially when the employer is understanding because it can boost that person’s productivity and morale immensely as they receive the support they need in a safe environment. An increase in productivity will not only boost those suffering, but it will also help the workplace on the whole, as morale will be kept up.

2. Supportive working environment

People who are working in teams will feel more united and stronger knowing that everyone is there for each other. As mentioned before, feeling isolated or suffering from low self-esteem can massively impact a person’s mental health. This is intensified when someone feels like they are not part of a team. This could be due to low self-esteem or from feeling isolated, even when that may not be the case. Knowing how to deal with mental health issues in the workplace will ensure that everyone is heard and included within the working team. If there is an atmosphere of understanding, those suffering won’t feel so alienated and will feel more supported.

3. Understanding in management

Management is more understanding when the right education of mental health in the workplace has occurred. Management will be more considerate to employee’s feelings and will gain knowledge on how to tackle the issues. This could be through changing a shift pattern, so it is more flexible for the employee who is suffering. Or they could introduce an open-door policy. This can help a lot when employees know that they can speak to management if and when they need to. If management is aware that an employee is struggling, there will be a calmer approach when asking them to meet certain deadlines. If management lack the knowledge in mental health, it can be extremely difficult to gain that understanding and patience.

4. Helps to spot early signs of mental health issues.

When proper training and education have been given, management will be able to spot early signs of declining mental health. By taking a moment to talk to their team, or to observe their behaviour during the day, they may be able to spot changes in their employee’s moods or behaviours. If employers notice an employee’s attitude to work or other employees has changed, is a big indication that something may be wrong. By being educated on mental health, an employer will know the early signs of declining mental health to look out for. Once they recognise this in action, they can then offer the right tools to the employee, before it potentially becomes a bigger problem later on.

5. Stops insensitive questions from being asked.

Being educated on mental health in the workplace will also put a stop to insensitive questions being asked, even if they are not intended to be. Although an employer innocently asks questions, such as simply “What’s wrong?”, it may be exactly the wrong question to ask. The answer could be anything and everything, but it certainly won’t get the person to open up. Often, to someone who may be dealing with anxiety, it feels like a finger is being pointed their way, saying “What’s wrong with you? You clearly have problems.” Which isn’t what is meant at all.

By learning the right kind of questions and knowing when and how to ask them will show a more sensitive and caring approach, which will help an employee open up a bit easier if they are struggling with mental health issues.  These are just five reasons why it’s important to be educated about mental health in the workplace, but there are many more reasons. You could potentially be saving someone’s life and you wouldn’t even know, just by knowing how to act and what to say. It also will help to boost morale in the workplace, leading to a stronger, more productive and successful team for your business. If you would like to know more about educating workplaces about mental health, then get in touch with me today.

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