Mental health at work: why it matters
Mental health issues shouldn’t stop you from being an active member of your workplace. With early diagnosis, proper treatment and education, you can enjoy fulfilment in your career. Read on to find out how.
Mental health: a shared issue
One in four people globally will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, according to the World Health Organization. While a diagnosis can feel scary, it doesn’t need to spell the end of a fulfilling work life. In fact, the vast majority of people with mental illness are fully productive in their workspace.
Getting on track involves consulting a qualified therapist for an objective view of your symptoms, a proper diagnosis and a consistent treatment plan.
Find out more about how a therapist and other experts can help you live your best life here.
Where mental health and work meet
Productivity at work is something that a mental health diagnosis shouldn’t get in the way of. But if your mental health is not managed correctly, it can affect your ability to work.
What employers can do to help
It’s important for your employer to create opportunities for you to engage meaningfully at work. Lack of participation and control in the workplace are some of the contributing factors to mental health problems.
Other work-related factors include poor working conditions, lack of communication and poor leadership. For this reason, your employer should show compassion and do their bit to minimise obstacles that could stand in the way of your return to the workplace.
It’s also been suggested that an employer who communicates well and is involved after you receive a mental health diagnosis is likely to help your return to work be more successful. It’s also useful to talk about your diagnosis and challenges at work if you feel comfortable to do so. It may help your manager consider a change in your work duties temporarily, for example.
Mental health education matters
Another obstacle to reintegrating successfully into the workplace is a lack of education among colleagues. There are certain stigmas attached to mental illness, and a good way to turn this around is through education.
The more we all know and understand about mental health, the more we are all able to create a comfortable, accepting work environment for others.
One area of education that’s important is the many different things that can contribute to mental illness. These include financial stress, trauma and instability at home, or other personal reasons such as mental disorders that are genetic (hereditary).
Mental illness can affect anyone, whether you’re in an entry-level job or in senior management. In fact, there’s been an increase in professionals, senior management and HR professionals being diagnosed with mental health problems because they cannot cope with the overwhelming demand of work during trying economic times. It’s important that education covers this, too.
Help in practice
Every employer should help to manage the complex needs of its employees, including those who struggle with mental health problems. This forms the basis of insurers’ management of disability claims.
In the event of injury or illness preventing you from being able to work (for anything from a couple of hours to an longer period of time), group income disability insurance can replace a portion of your income depending on the long-term outcome of your disability.
Reality Club and Reality Access for SGR members have free access to telephonic counselling and 24-hour medical assistance in a situation where assault, accidental exposure to HIV or any other trauma has occurred. To use the Trauma, Assault & HIV Assist benefit, call 0860 732 548/9.
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