mental health at work

Why Mental Health in the Workplace Is Important

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Sue Prestridge, MA, LPCC, Outpatient Therapist, and EMDR Trained Clinician. We spend a third of our lives at work (or 90,000 hours over the course of a lifetime), making it a space that plays a crucial role in our mental health. The amount of time we spend at work combined with a monumental year makes mental health in the workplace important now more than ever. The good news is that work-related stressors can be tackled with the right approaches to limit their negative impact on your health.

The Problem

1 in 5 U.S adults - 55 million people, reported living with a mental illness in 2019. Of course, those mental illnesses range in severity. However, mental health plays a role in people's day to day functioning and it has an impact on the workplace. According to the CDC, mental health problems can affect an individual’s job performance, productivity, engagement, and communication with co-workers.

What Employers Can Do

Mental health in the workplace can start with a simple step, making employees feel valued. Knowing that an employer appreciates your work and values your concerns not only eases the minds of employees, but it improves the work environment as a whole. That ease of mind translates to heightened levels of confidence and results in increased collaboration. In other words, when employees feel supported, they will produce quality work and feel good doing it. Outpatient Therapist and EMDR Trained Clinician at Nystrom & Associates, Sue Prestridge, explains further:
“Good mental health at work supports employees who are satisfied in their job. This adds to the well-being of co-workers in a kind of synergistic way. When employees feel valued, they feel good about themselves.”
It’s no secret that humans are emotional beings and it affects the way we relate to people. Another way for employers to implement mental health strategies is to foster connection and encourage open conversations about mental health and stress management. This will lead to educational opportunities and support systems being put in place. Technological developments have also allowed remote work to be relatively accessible and employers need to learn to adapt to these changes. Remote or digital work can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Allowing space for check-ins and honest conversations about how employees are doing will help to promote a positive environment.

Work Mental Health Tips

While we may not be able to control how our employers treat us, we do have power over the things we can control. Focus on your circle of influence like your mindset, behavior, and attitude. Sue Prestridge shares a few tips for fostering your mental health at work:
  • Take mindfulness or relaxation breaks.
  • Talk to someone that will help you reframe current challenges you may be facing in the workplace.
  • Utilize wellness perks in the workplace, like a workout area or break room.
Additionally, you can do the following:
  • Advocate for mental health programs and continuing education.
  • When appropriate, share personal stories to help decrease stigma.
  • Respond to co-workers with empathy and offer support.
  • Take care of your physical wellness; eat balanced and move your body.

A Word From Nystrom & Associates

Are you having trouble coping with work-related stress? Read our article on 8 Ways to De-Stress or reach out to us here if you'd like to request an appointment. For more helpful tips, like our Facebook page.

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