Mental Health at Work

Yes, I know it’s a difficult topic that most of us don’t want to think or talk about. Uncertainty, fear,...

Yes, I know it’s a difficult topic that most of us don’t want to think or talk about. Uncertainty, fear, over-work, bereavement, isolation, loss of income, etc. etc. trigger mental health conditions or make existing ones worse. This makes it a topic that every organisation and every leader must talk about. Experiences during the Covid pandemic showed us all just how fragile our mental health can be.

Every person can life tough for their own unique combination of reasons:

  • Too much work vs no work.
  • Too noisy vs too quiet.
  • Too much to do vs nothing to do.
  • Worrying about family vs having no family to worry about.
  • Isolation vs too many people at home.

In recent years, and across industries, an increasing number of companies have begun adding wellness and mental health care resources to employee benefit packages and the unique challenges created by the pandemic only accelerated the demand. But while mindfulness, meditation and fitness classes are well-intentioned, they really are only putting a plaster over the real issues.

What is needed in the new world of work are measures that tackle the root causes of employees’ need for mental health support. Organisations and leaders need to be proactive and create a safe, supportive work environment. This means things such as:

  • Instituting policies like flexible working hours and workplaces (e.g home office).
  • Investing in relationship building among teams.
  • Building trust between management functions and employees.
  • Regular assessments of the balance between the employees’ workload and the resources they have.

The sense of purpose, camaraderie, connection and feeling that we’re achieving something is good for our mental state. The biggest impact we can have is to build work cultures that that actively promote and contribute to that. Organisations and leaders need to create a supportive culture helps everyone do their best work, develop and take us into a new, brighter future.

These supportive work cultures have 6 aspects:

  • people have a work–life balance that supports good mental health;
  • people who are going through a challenging time with their mental health are supported;
  • people feel safe to raise concerns about their mental health;
  • people don’t feel they have to hide any mental health challenges;
  • mental health issues are not considered a weakness;
  • disclosing mental health challenges does not impact a person’s career or stop them from getting a promotion.

All of this is easier said than done, for sure. However, the longest jouney starts with the first steps!

Sheila Purdy
"I love to watch people blossom into their best selves and become role-model leaders." Expertise Background Personal Born in the...


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