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Mental Health at the Workplace: Things to Look Out For

Published: October 6, 2016

If you have not given much thought to mental health in your workplace, you are not the only one. Many employers don’t really treat is as a condition but as an adverse effect of competition in the corporate world and an endless amount of workload that induces stress and anxiety in employees. However, it is about time that you seriously start thinking about the mental health of your employees at the workplace which might be causing many of them to miss work, even when they don’t have paid time off, and to switch jobs, altogether causing a high turnover rate.

Absenteeism in employees can be greatly attributed to mental health issues, which are generally not covered in the health insurance of employees. Corporate jobs are tough and cause a lot of stress that can leave employees feeling depressed, angry and insecure. A hostile working environment can also induce a number of other unhealthy emotions that will not only reduce the productivity of an employee, but also cause severe safety risks at the workplace not just for the employee themselves, but for others too. If you are unable to identify symptoms of mental health problems at your workplace, here are some things that you need to lookout for.

Your Employees can Exhibit

  • Slower reaction time
  • Poor productivity
  • Being indecisive or making bad decisions
  • A feeling of not caring about consequences
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Absenteeism without being sick physically

Why is it a Safety Issue

Although a worker’s safety is a shared responsibility of the organization and the employee themselves, the behavior of an individual and the attitudes of the workers are as important as the organizational safety culture as well as the safety policies and practices that are mandatory at the workplace. However, at a workplace, if one person doesn’t have their head in the game, it can mean disaster for others too. This absentmindedness can be hazardous to anyone and can result in a loss in productivity and affecting a project and the team’s performance overall. Particularly, when you work in a field like oil and gas industry or construction, such a behavior can be the difference between life and death.

It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a popular platform where many workers and their families share the endless struggle of a mental health issue. It is not an easy conversation to have with an employee because many people feel that it is their personal vulnerability and it is a dark place where many of them are afraid to go.

However, assuring your employees about the effective precautionary measures that you intend to take to reduce the symptoms of a mental health issue, like depression and stress, can encourage your employees to talk to you. If that is not a possibility, hiring a counselor is your best bet. For health and wellness, it is essential to create awareness and to tell your employees that “sucking up” is not the most effective way to deal with stress.

Educate employees to lookout for any signs and symptoms that may alert them that a co-worker is having trouble at work or is suffering from a mental health issue. Any little measure and a helping act can save someone because a healthy mind means a healthy and productive workplace.

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