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Health & Fitness

Poor mental health is the silent enemy ravaging workplace

mental health
Companies should invest in research material and facilitate access to them for the employees to learn on mental health. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The 2018 report by the World Health Organisation echoed that one out of four persons suffers from a form of mental illness.

Unlike physical illness, mental illness has a vivid characteristic; it is challenging to pinpoint because a lot of people put on a brave face making it hardly noticeable. In recent years, there have been extreme cases ranging from suicide and this has been a wake up call to the employers to champion for the mental well- being. Here are steps to effectively deal with mental health at the workplace.

Train senior management

Organisations need to put in place training programmes for management to support persons living with mental health and those affected by it. A major drawback is that management tends to seek a one-size-fit-all solution without acknowledging the fact that there are systematic differences in the way people act, think and feel.

Every person is different and there is the need to decode what makes each of your employees unique and factor in how to manage that aspect of uniqueness. An example is that some employees may be resilient when faced with challenges and others are unable to wade through murky waters without any form of support and this is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

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Develop mental health policies

Are there policies that deal with stress and depression at the workplace? If not it is high time that the current policies are reviewed and matters relating to mental health are incorporated.

Proper Work-Life Balance

Organisations should focus on this aspect to reduce rampant stress and burnout at the workplace. This can be achieved by creating flexible worktime, sponsoring out of office activities other than team building activities and increasing the frequency of them.

Create a culture of recognition

This reduces stress, builds greater bonds between team-mates and creates a positive and motivational environment for employees to thrive.

Increase awareness

Companies should invest in research material and facilitate access to them for the employees to learn on mental health. Through this they can initiate campaigns within the office and ways on how to reach out to fellow employees when I distress and also a support program where he can reach out to mental health professionals.

When companies invest in mental health, it is indeed a win-win situation as this leads to a more productive and happier workforce.

The writer is Lawyer, Intellectual Property GTax, CPM, Mental Health Advocate.

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