The overall concept of workplace wellness is nothing new. These days, countless employers big and small tout their commitment when it comes to supporting their employees' personal needs, usually through comprehensive benefit packages and other health related initiatives. What is discussed less are actual issues that these programs are addressing specifically mental health in the workplace.
Even in the age of transparency, there's an overwhelming sense of hesitance around discussing mental health at work because of the fear that bringing up a mental health issue could have a negative effect on overall job security.
By the same token, mental health issues like anxiety and major depressive disorder are more commonplace than you think.
Where to find support? Let's dive deeper into mental health within the context of the workplace.
Know Where You Can Go For Support
Poor mental health can have a negative impact on important factors like job performance, productivity and relationships within your place of employment. In terms of accessing the right resources that address mental illness in the workplace, it is not always so easy to know where to start.
Some people feel comfortable talking to their manager or supervisor rather than going straight to HR. What is important is that you reach out to let someone know how you are feeling.
It's also worth exploring your job's benefit programs and employee assistance plans which seek to address personal issues that can have an impact on overall job performance. While resources will vary from one employer to the next, many are placing an increased focus on mental health particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an increasing reliance on remote teams blurred the lines between work and personal life, more employers started offering mental health resources in the form of apps, videos and webinars.
You can also take a moment to familiarize yourself with your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law prevents employers from discriminating against job seekers with mental illnesses and also includes rules stating companies must provide reasonable accommodations to employees protected under the act. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against at work due to a mental health issue make sure to get in touch with an attorney specializing in employment laws like the ADA.
Create A Supportive Work Environment
When it comes to looking after your own mental health, there are countless strategies to consider including taking breaks, scheduling time off for mental health days and knowing when to ask for help are all small ways of helping ensure that your needs are being made.
Supporting your colleagues is also an integral important part of the equation. Check in with your coworkers to see how they are doing and give them a chance to respond in an authentic way. While it can be difficult to talk about mental health in the workplace, everyone plays a role in creating an environment that's supportive.
Company leadership should let employees know that it is okay to discuss mental health issues at work. An organization that provides resources and benefits that address the well-being of employees is a great sign of a supportive work environment. That includes regular reminders of how to access this support as well as allowing for time off when it is necessary.