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Unlocking Success: The Crucial Role of Workplace Mental Health 

Posted on May 22, 2023

The significance of workplace mental health is often acknowledged, but few can precisely define what it means to be mentally healthy. Mental Health Month (May) was established in 1949 to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and celebrate recovery from mental illness. 

What is the definition of mental health? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is described as: 

“A state of well-being in which individuals can realize their potential, cope with life’s stresses, work productively, and actively engage in their community.” 

The well-being of our mind is as crucial as that of our body, as many illnesses can be attributed to spiritual factors. It is important to pay attention to the signals from our soul since correctly interpreting them can help avoid a significant percentage of physical problems. 

Why is mental health important in the workplace? 

Work conditions and the environment in the workplace impact mental health, which in turn affects work performance. 

Workplace stress and psychosocial risks are among the major challenges in ensuring workplace safety and health. They have a significant influence on individual health, organisational cohesion, and national economic performance. 

Workplace stress

According to the World Health Organisation’s definition, occupational stress occurs when work expectations surpass our knowledge or abilities, leading us to feel incapable of managing the pressure. 

Causes

The WHO has categorized triggering factors into two groups: 

  1. Arising from the nature of the work: Time pressure, monotonous tasks, lack of stimulation, purposeless work, excessive or insufficient workload, poor scheduling, long and isolating hours, lack of involvement and influence. 
  2. Arising from working conditions: Limited opportunities for advancement, unfair and opaque pay practices, under- or over-qualification, disorganised job structure, inadequate management support, poor relationships with co-workers. 

Top three root causes: 

  • Amount of work (40%) 
  • Problems in personal relationships (30%) 
  • Maintaining work-life balance (20%) 

Symptoms

At an individual level: Frequent nervousness, high blood pressure, frequent tardiness, desire to spend less time at work, sleep disorders, depression, concentration and digestive disorders, and frequent illnesses. 

At a team level: Frequent conflicts, high turnover, decreased performance, and an increasing number of sick leaves. 

Around 50-60% of work absences can be attributed to stress-related causes, and it has been found that full-time women are twice as likely as men to experience mental health problems. A concerning prediction is that by 2030, work-related stress and overwork may become leading causes of depression. 

What can be done about it? 

Regardless of the size and type of businesses, these risks and stress can be effectively prevented and managed. Managing stress is not only a moral responsibility and a wise investment for employers but also a legal obligation. 

Current risks should be assessed and managed, potentially with the help of specialists. 

Prevention is of utmost importance, including increasing awareness and providing knowledge on the subject. It is crucial for everyone within the organization to have a shared understanding of stress and recognize the significance of preventing and addressing it. 

Supporting employees and colleagues in improving their health is worthwhile, as it contributes to success and maintaining a positive workplace atmosphere. 

Most importantly, if you experience work-related stress, do not view it as a weakness or a mistake. Every person is different, and individuals have varying thresholds for handling pressure. Don’t hesitate to seek help from your manager, HR department, colleagues, or even a specialist. 

Source: osha.europa.eu

Picture: freepik.com