Breaking the mental health stigma at work: getting out of the box

The workplace as a whole at the moment seems to be in a bit of a rut. During the pandemic, over eighty percent of the workforce was working at home. With this record high number of remote employees, there grows a range of heightened complications to do with employee welfare. Mental health has always been a big issue with a lot of stigma surrounding it, especially in the arena of work. Many jobs have been highlighted as ‘high stress’ or causes of mental health problems; but for a long time, mental health was put in a box and brushed aside as for the weak-minded or mentally ill.

We need to break this stigma and get out of this boxed way of thinking if we want things to ever improve. So, let’s have a look at how we can do that.

Woman sitting in a long hallway with her hands folded in front of her mouth.

Start by breaking a vicious cycle

The cycle is this: productivity (or aim thereof) goes up, which increases stress. This stress has a negative impact on mental health, inducing further stress, anxiety, and other negative reactions. These reactions in turn impact our personal health, both physical and mental. When our health is affected, our productivity goes down. And so, the cycle begins again.

So, what is mental health, really?

Mental health is the sum of all of our psychological and emotional wellbeing which feeds into our brain capacity and physical health as a whole. Mental health was previously thought to be imagined or even just a blip on the grand horizon of well-being; but it has been shown over the past few decades to lead to chronic pain, depression, and life-threatening conditions. Mental health is an incredibly important part of our overall well-being as humans.

What is our current crisis?

You might have heard of the saying, ‘work life balance’, and dismissed it. It’s normal or natural to separate work and life, you might think. However, this is far from the truth. Workaholics and even just the average employee can let their work life and home life bleed into one awesome being, and suddenly you’re never off the clock. This can negatively impact mental health, as it begins to feel like you never have a break from work. This feeds into the vicious cycle we talked about earlier; as these mental health issues that develop lead to a lack of productivity in the workers that develop them, which simply deepens the problem further.

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had an even greater impact on this dilemma, because of the added mental stressors it has brought on. Not only are all the original stressors around; but workers feared losing jobs, maybe had to take an income cut, had to work from home, or even were in isolation and had health scares. All of this has only added to the mental health crisis we were experiencing before.

Solving the problem

Let’s stop mental health from impacting productivity, by:
  • Supporting your team with their mental health. Mental health is not a bad word! Help your team maintain a positive mental state and if they are struggling, help them with negative mental health too. Improvement takes an army.
  • Promote and encourage physical activity within your teams. Keeping active is a great way to promote and maintain mental health, so keep it at the forefront of your plans.
  • Stay clear of burnout by encouraging your teams to maintain a healthy work life balance.
  • Encourage better communication between your team in order to constantly stay apprised of what’s going on within your teams.
  • Make sure that the way your business or organisation operates is compliant with handling mental health in a productive and positive way. 

When employees are made to feel as though they are in a safe, non-judgemental, and stress-reduced environment, their work productivity will remain high.

How to make it work

As mentioned in the beginning, mental health can be a huge stigma in the workforce. And sadly, project managers are no strangers to mental health. In fact, employees of the day-to-day business aren’t the only ones feeling the strain, but so are project managers. Whether it’s getting slighted by someone, or things aren’t going their way, project managers will feel the heat. Needless to say, everyone is human, and negative mental health can affect anyone.

The vicious cycle of work and productivity leading to stress and mental health issues, and then leading onto underproductivity is a difficult one to beat. How is it possible to defeat a devil with two prongs? The way to handle the cycle is to promote positive mental health and make your employees and workers feel safe and secure within a healthy environment.
Emily Henry is a content creator for websites, blogs, articles and social media platforms and one of the professional essay writers at Custom Writing Services and Simple Grad. Emily is keen on attracting the attention of a target audience at Best essay writing services.

Keywords: Project management, Mindset, Personal development, Workspace, Tip, Knowledge, Guide

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