Why talking about mental health in the workplace is essential

Most people spend a huge part of their lives in their offices. If they’re suffering from some kind of mental illness, then it must be addressed in the workplace as it severely impacts their performance. Many employees with mental health issues shy away from discussing their problems with their peers and bosses out of fear of damaging their working relationships. It is equally the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees feel encouraged to talk about their mental health woes and that they seek professional intervention as well. Taking mental health seriously can significantly improve employees’ productivity. Here are a few more reasons why employers must incorporate dialogues around and tools to deal with mental health in the workplace:

  • Helps employees feel comfortable and more productive

It’s important for an employer to understand how mental disorders can affect an employee’s work and behavior. For instance, if one of the employees has a history of panic attacks, it is quite likely that he suffers from attacks at work too. But if they are not comfortable talking about their mental health issues in the office, then their condition could worsen and their performance, too, may drop. On the other hand, if employees feel comfortable to discuss this issue with their bosses, then they can together find a way to cope with the problem. This ensures that the employee’s confidence is boosted and that their mental health is not a hindrance to their performance at work.

  • Builds a culture of happiness and acceptance

Employers must create an environment wherein employees can talk freely about their mental health issues whenever they feel like it. Some employers do this by first talking about their own issues and how they overcame/are overcoming them. This motivates their employees to step forward and talk openly about any issue that they may be dealing with. The goal here is to make people understand that mental illness is not abnormal and encourage them to seek help.

  • Eliminates the stigma surrounding mental illness

Let’s say that someone who is diagnosed with a certain kind of mental illness is seeing a therapist after work. The therapist tells them that it’s alright to be fighting the issue, and that they’re lucky enough to have those who support them. The next day, they go into the office where nobody talks about mental illness and perceives it as something non-existential. Now, if this person comes across a situation where they fail to deliver results because of their mental illness, then it is likely that colleagues or others in the office will accuse them of using mental illness as an excuse for their inability to perform well. Regardless of what therapists say, this can force them to believe that it is indeed not okay to be fighting a mental illness. This can permanently affect their personal as well as professional life.

  • It is a positive way to attract good employees

If you were not already aware, many talented and valuable employees suffer from mental illnesses. These people may not consider working for an organization that does not have mechanisms to address mental health and well-being at work. Many of them are even ready to forgo a higher salary only to work for a company that can understand their needs and help them build their mental well-being.