Mental Health / workplace

Simple ways to support mental health at your workplace

. 3 min read . Written by Shivani Jha
Simple ways to support mental health at your workplace

2020 has been full of strange surprises and unnerving developments. From the pandemic to climate change, we’ve gone through a lot. It is safe to say that the times are certainly uncertain! In this time and age, mental health plays a very important role in all our lives.

We just celebrated ‘World Mental Health Day’ on October 10. Despite so many people talking about the event, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in this field. It is pertinent that organisations start talking about mental health at work as a priority.

The recent research done by India Today reveals that 36% of Indian employees are suffering from mental health issues and 50% are worried about an uncertain future due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees and employers both love to ignore the fact that our mental health impacts the way we behave at the workplace. The pandemic has proven that mental health is not something that is often addressed within office spaces. Workplaces need to think about ways to ensure that they are addressing and supporting mental health issues not just during these pandemic times but in the future as well.

So, you want to inspire people to support mental health at the workplace, but don’t know where to start? Here are some brilliant ways to begin.

Flexible working hours

Shaking up the nine-to-five routine is a great way to start. Not only does it help people maintain their professional lives, but it also balances their personal lives effectively.

Treating depression can save companies $2,000 annually per employee, which makes learning to take care of your employees worth it! This is not all about numbers, either. It is also from a health and productivity perspective.

Allowing choices is the most important thing a company can do. Whether the employees want to work remotely or from co-working spaces, they should have the independence to make that call. It’s not easy, but it isn’t impossible for organisations who want to succeed in the long run.

Start sharing stories

Stories move us. As human beings, words usually have a strong impact on our psyche. The stories might be good or bad, but any strong story has the power to impact minds.

The best way to normalise talking about mental health issues is by sharing stories. Companies should start by talking about other people’s tales of mental health. We can talk about how they have gone through the same issues as many of us or have overcome personal demons. It will inspire others to normalize this issue.

Facebook organised a recent campaign using the hashtag #openup for raising awareness and encouraging their people to open up about their mental health issues and feelings.

Mental health policies

Tackling mental health at the workplace is easier said than done. With appropriate mental health policies, we can bring the main issues to the limelight and address the fact that every person has their own story.

At the same time, if companies already have policies that pertain to mental health and the wellbeing of their employees, then they should review these policies periodically for better outcomes. On top of that, it is always a good idea to also analyse how it can improve a larger number of employees’ lives.

Creating volunteering events

People often keep thinking about themselves. We are so wrapped up in our own world, it becomes harder to separate oneself from one’s problems!

“It’s better to give than receive” is a well known phrase.

There is research that can validate this line! Volunteering or doing something for a good cause directly impacts our mental health. Helping others feel good tends to make our brains release oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which are mood-lifter hormones.

As a company, you can organise events for your employees to volunteer at a local NGO or even create your own event. This can go a long way for the mental well-being of your workers!

Be creative

There are many things one can do to help make the world a better place. All you need is some imagination! Taking some creative ideas and working towards supporting mental health can make things bloom on the work front.

Taking that first step is crucial for every organisation. In the end, mental health conversations need more time in the open under the sunlight. A little more candor and unashamed conversation as the only way to make this country a mental health positive atmosphere!

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