While people associate mental disorders with issues in personal and family relationships, anxiety and stress arising due to excessive workload are still under-rated. The WHO (World Health Organization) has officially declared "burnout" as a disorder that "results from chronic workplace stress that has not been properly handled".
It is easy for anyone to talk about mental stress and psychotic disorder treatment, but when it comes to those having mental conditions, people still feel the stigma linked with them, particularly at workplaces. I have worked with various executives and managers and I have found that most of them are really concerned about their jobs and reputation if they utter anything about their mental health.
They are often in the impression that their colleagues and seniors will assume that their productivity and reliability will take a dip. Also, they believe that if they consult any psychiatrist, it would have a negative effect on their professional lives, and thus, they indulge in alcohol and drugs thinking everything will get better on its own.
Such hypocrisy generally arises from negative attitudes and incorrect information and it often leads to workplace discrimination and a lack of needed support.
Leaders, this is what you should do
I reckon that creating an inclusive workplace could be a sure shot solution in keeping the stigma about mental health problems at bay. I have implemented numerous cultural change and inclusion programs and I think it is essential that this change in work environment to be divided into three stages to create trust among managers and employees. Then, let time take care of the situation further.
Redo the organizational structure
Companies should consider overall health and mental health as a part of their strategies and procedures. You need to make sure that you are integrating mental health and well-being into your health and safety schemes, particularly. First, specify what mental health and well-being is according to your company so that you could set some benchmarks.
After that, look for the potential psychological risk aspects in your company. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety issued 13 psychological risk factors regarding support, workload, involvement, leadership, and so on. These indicators can be used in the form of a questionnaire, a checklist for direct workplace procedures and experiments, or a survey among the employees.
This stage also includes redesigning the current policies on stuff including, promotions and hiring, to build an environment of trust that saves people with mental conditions from adverse impacts. Remember, each individual reacts differently to mental stress and that is the rule.
Spread the word
Every member of a company, from chairman to a junior employee, must be aware of psychological health, signs of critical mental health problems – anxiety, and depression - and behavioral health treatment. And this is how you can achieve it:
- Organize and employee-assistance program with reputed service providers
- Consult with local psychiatrists about recent research and developments in treating mental illnesses and invite them to share something about human psychology.
- Establish a separate health department that keeps a check on every employee in mental health and well-being campaigns.
- Use the company's LAN or newsletter to spread the word about health and well-being.
Talk about mental health with others
After the success of the above two stages, you can move on to the third stage which involves having casual interactions with workers about mental health. And these are the ways:
- Motivate managers and employees to open up about their mental conditions and discuss ways to cope with them. This can be done via newsletters, and videos uploaded on the intranet or talks.
- Motivate employees having mental health issues to create a peer group to provide a secured room for others to discuss and ask suggestions about how to get rid of the stress and related problems at workplaces.
- Educate owners and employers about how to identify mental health problems in employees and how to interact with them openly to provide help and essential work changes.
Follow these tips and tricks and you will notice positive vibes all around the workplace. Employees will feel more comfortable speaking their heart out about these mental conditions to their colleagues. At last, it is a humble request from my side that you all have to break the stigma of mental illness because it is really okay to talk about it in workplaces.