Most Americans spend a large part of their long waking hours at workplace. Their emotional health depends on the office environment and work culture. However, in spite of the huge role of the workplace in employees’ well-being, most employers tend to ignore the importance of mental health. Though it is true that genetics and prior traumatic experiences are major factors determining an individual’s mental health, experts feel that employers can take several steps that can go a long way in lowering stress and fostering resilience. One should understand that an unhealthy mind affects work, which, in turn, affects business.
As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 45 million people aged 18 years or older are grappling with any mental illness (AMI) in the United States. Significantly, workers with untreated mental disorder can cost employers billions of dollars each year. According to the Center for Prevention and Health Services, an estimated 217 million days of work are lost annually due to productivity decline related to mental and substance use disorders.
Coping with workplace-related mental health problems
Several surveys and studies show that the working class across the U.S. rated their stress levels above average in the last five years, impacting their overall job performance adversely. It is ironical that people don’t give equal importance to mental health problems as they do so in case of physical ailments like heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, hoping their mental health will improve on its own. However, that’s a wrong perception.
On the brighter side, most mental health problems are very much treatable with positive results. Employers should take constructive steps to eliminate the barriers and stigma attached to seeking counseling or professional treatment for mental illnesses and ensure that confidential disclosures are handled in a non-judgmental manner. Facilitating resilience-building and stress awareness programs are some of the many ways through which organizations can promote positivity and mental well-being in the workplace.
Above all, managers should be sensitized about the taboos associated with mental health, particularly in the present economic climate where disclosure of such problems could induce fear of termination on health grounds. Some of the most common mental health issues, which manifest at the workplace, are:
- Anxiety disorder: Anxiety in the workplace may appear as restlessness, fatigue, inability in concentrating, and a preoccupied mind.
- Depression: In the workplace, depression is most likely to surface as nervousness, restlessness or irritation and in physical manifestations, such as aches and pains, which could lead to impaired judgment or clouded decision making abilities.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD may lead to a disorganized way of working, inability to meet targets and deadlines, problems in following instructions from managers and getting along with co-workers.
- Bipolar disorder: At work, bipolar disorder is state of mental oscillation between elevated and depressed moods. In an elevated phase, employees may appear highly charged, but actual productivity may drop. Whereas, in a depressed phase, workers normally exhibit all symptoms related to withdrawal and depression.
Mental health plays a role
The human mind is immensely powerful, and people often tend to underestimate this power. The mind is filled with a plethora of thoughts, which fly in and out in short span of time, causing a momentarily wavering self-esteem. Such temporary highs and lows are common in life. But if they gravely affect an individual’s opinion about himself or herself, there’s serious trouble in store.
An early mental health diagnosis to get to the root of the underlying problem is the key to recovery and prevention. In the wake of the growing numbers of people battling mental health problems, the World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is observed on October 10 every year, with the purpose of spreading awareness about the various forms of mental health disorders and mobilizing efforts to eradicate the associated stigma and shame. The theme for 2017 is “mental health in the workplace.”
Sovereign Health is a leading mental health care provider in the U.S. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, offers a variety of customized mental health services and tailor-made psychotherapies based on the patient’s requirements to embark on the journey to wellness. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for answers to your queries on mental health. Our world-class mental health treatment centers spread across California are known for their effective recovery programs.
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