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What could your Company do to Address Mental Health?

Category: Mental Health, World Mental Health Day, population, depression, economic, equivalent, mental disorder

10th October is world mental health day

As per the World Economic Forum, more than three hundred million people are reckoned to be suffering from depression and this is equivalent to 4.4% of the population of the world. The economic side-effects of poor mental health are also significant. A World Economic Forum/Harvard School of Public Health study evaluated that the impact of mental disorders in terms of lost global economic output will be amounting to approximately $16.3 trillion between the years 2011 and 2030.

The stigma associated with mental health must be removed

Whilst discussions regarding mental health have started happening in the workplace, companies are realising increasingly that they have a responsibility towards their employees to ensure that they can productively work and their well-being is properly looked after. Business leaders are often at a loss when it comes to effectively communicating mental health in a way that proved considerate and valuable to their employees. This is something that all businesses need to address if they want their workforce to seek the support that they need.

Discussions on mental health in the workplace

It is important to find ways to make mental illness a part of workplace conversations. This can be done by employing a professional adept at dealing with sensitive matters who will be able to put the workforce at ease. This way, employees will be able to feel comfortable when discussing their mental health issues and open further dialogues for implementing changes to the company. For instance, businesses can choose to have flexible working hours in order to make time for well-being sessions.

Some of the third-party healthcare technology businesses can also develop private forums for the workforce to talk about their mental health concerns. This can help employees who can feel uncomfortable retrieving online mental health materials during working hours. Businesses need to make sure that help and all the essential information about these options are easily and openly accessible. It may be made available, via a portal on the website of the company or through an internal e-newsletter.

Creation of flexible work patterns

The dynamic and rapidly changing business environment of today means that colleagues are often segregated across various locations and time zones. This may be great news for business, but the American Psychological Association propounds that some employees can become extremely stressed because their job roles are marked by the need to respond to others’ timetables, demands, working in a setting that is suffering from organisational confusion or is overly authoritarian.

The findings suggest that it is not always the job, but an organisation’s “always on” environment or culture that result in the exhaustion of the employees.

Creating more work schedules could be one solution to dealing with such situations. ‘Vodafone’s Flexible: friend or foe?’ is one the recent global workplace survey where eighty-three per cent of the respondents said that great efficiency was achieved by employing flexible working and sixty-one per cent said that it facilitated profits for growing companies.

Flexibility is no longer a simple case of work/life balance; it is a matter of health. It can be used to support individuals who might need varied work styles to lower the rising anxiety and stress levels.

Stress management approaches must be introduced in workplaces

As per a 2016 report from Willis Towers Watson, employers all over the world have realised that stress is one of the foremost issues in the workplace. Stress is a vital cause of non-attendance at work and it can worsen or lead to mental health conditions, along with other medical disorders if it is not handled properly.

If stress is handled purposefully and proactively in the workplace, it will be to the advantage of a company. Even though the short-term reactions to stress is not generally detrimental, ongoing stress can cause expensive and long-lasting issues.

Training managers must identify the signs of stress, how it triggers specific reactions in individuals and find ways to break the cycle so that it does not turn into a larger issue, especially for workers for are at-risk. Emphasising work-life balance, offering mindfulness techniques and utilising apps or technology that encourage mental breaks are other ways of stress management.

Professional Help Need to be Made Easily Available

EAPs (Employee assistance programmes) are specifically designed to benefit employees who are battling personal problems that are affecting their health, as well as, workplace productivity.

These programmes offer confidential and direct contact with professionals who can help individuals with areas causing emotional discomfort - from work-related problems to family issues, mental illness and addiction.

The promotion of EAPs will help to reduce absenteeism and health costs, along with providing businesses the opportunity to demonstrate mental health assistance.

By adopting EAPs, companies will be openly recognising that mental health is a real concern and exists in all workplaces. You will also be demonstrating your appreciation for your team when they are exceeding expectations and also when they are juggling challenging situations with their demanding work schedules. Companies need to develop a general culture of health, along with a combination of programmes that support workplace demographic in order to create a positive work environment that supports both mental and physical health.

These may include EAPs, flexible working, paid time off and such other policies to boost lunchtime exercise, improve work/life integration and an open-door approach to addressing mental health issues at work. 



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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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