Mental Health at Work

Mental Health In Office

For some people, work is a place where they can thrive and find themselves, enjoying the hustle and bustle of work. For other people, work is simply a way to earn money and they just go through the motions to get through the day.

But there are some people for whom work becomes a trap, unable to fully get out of and negatively impacting not just their work life, but their personal life as well. Everyone knows that work can become incredibly stressful, particularly if you work in jobs with high amounts of pressure on you. But there is an increasingly large portion of people who are dealing with mental health problems in the workplace now.

While it might be easy to just simply dismiss this and try to power through, it’s not helpful at all and can possibly result in a deteriorating situation. According to Mind, 1 in 6 people are dealing with a mental health problem including anxiety, depression and stress.

What Are The Common Mental Health Problems?

Mental health problems can affect anyone

Mental health problems can affect anyone

These are described the Health and Safety Executive as being problems that are very common and frequent but can be simply treated by a GP rather than having to have specialist treatment such as seeing a psychiatrist.

Anxiety and depression are two problems that affect people the most and a lot of the time they are not caused by work but outside influences. For the most part, these mental health problems can be treated with medication from a GP.

The Health and Safety Executive notes that while mental health problems are incredibly common in the UK, in fact one in four people will experience one at some point in their lives; most are incredibly mild and will not affect their lives too badly. However there are cases where people have to take time off work to recuperate when everything simply gets too much for them.

How Does Work Factor Into Mental Health?

The problem with mental health is that they can affect anyone and there is often a stigma around talking about it in the workplace. Many people don’t want their colleagues or managers to know that they are suffering from depression or anxiety as they may be worried that they will be viewed negatively.

It is also possible though that people who do not suffer from any mental health problem can find themselves getting overly stressed with their work. This is particularly common if they feel they are unable to cope with their workload, are feeling too much pressure at work or maybe even suffering from negative relations with colleagues.

This is only added to when people are too afraid to talk to their managers about it for fear of repercussion. A poll undertaken for Mind found that one in five workers would not tell their manager about their stress or mental health issues because they were afraid of being made redundant.

For people who are already suffering a mental health condition, workplace stress can exacerbate their problem, eventually feeding into each other.

What Position Do You Have Regarding Work?

Mental health problems can feel lonely

Mental health problems can feel lonely

You may be worried about what might happen to you if you disclose a mental health problem to your employer, or are trying to get hired for a job. The most important thing to remember though is that by law, employers and colleagues are not allowed to discriminate based on mental health.

If a mental health problem is long term and is having substantial effect on your life, then it can be officially classed as a disability. Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are legally not allowed to discriminate against a person with a disability or treat them any less favourably without a justifiable reason.

Employers should also have a mental health policy in place that will prevent discrimination among employees and managers should also be trained to spot the signs of stress or other problems.

Improve Your Mental Health

There are many ways to help improve you mental health and many of them may be in small ways. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the mind, you simply have to do what benefits you.

As stated before, there should hopefully be no discrimination if you tell your manager that you are suffering a mental health problem. Ideally your employer should try their best to accommodate you in whatever way they can, after all it benefits them to keep you happy and content rather than stressed and upset.

You don’t have to tell the entire workforce if you don’t want to, talk with your manager and make it clear that it’s just between you and them. They may need to tell some people higher up than them, but it should be your choice whether or not people find out.

Ensuring that you are also comfortable at work is an important aspect of improving mental health as well. A wrist rest or a properly fitting chair can help to reduce the amount of strain on your body, which can further reduce the stress you have. You may not think it, but one less thing to worry over means one less stress!

You may not want to but it may be a good idea to contact your GP and get an official diagnosis. They will be able to assist you in case you need further help, or prescribe medication that can help. You will also be able to go back to your work with an official diagnosis so that they are made aware.

Mental Health Links

Your mental health is important and we’ve put some links below in case you want to find out more.

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Sarah Jubb

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