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Mental Health In The Workplace

  By : , Kochi , India       9.10.2017         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027

Dr. Sandhya Cherkil
Consultant Neuropsychologist
Aster Medcity, Kochi

In our times, work largely defines ones identity and thus is an integral part of life. An adult spends most of his time at the work place and it is imperative that the situation at the work place should be conducive to good mental health. No work place is free from the stress of work itself. In addition, there are organizational policies as well as interpersonal dynamics that can contribute heavily to a healthy workplace.

Happiness in the workplace is determined the work characteristics, workplace culture and organizational policies and the personality characteristics and traits of the person himself. Lack of happiness will not necessarily lead to mental health issues, but if this lack is ongoing and the person is stuck in it for a long time, then definitely mental health issues are bound to crop up, ranging from anxiety and depression to full fledged mental breakdown.

Poor mental health at workplace results in increased rate of absenteeism, reduced productivity, increased health issues, use of substance and alcohol, disturbances in interpersonal communications, and inability to take decisions. All this can reflect back to the other domains of life which are away from work, such as family, leisure activities and societal interactions/contributions.

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to

work productively. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability. More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both.

Some of the work place related aspects that can ensure a healthy work environment are: healthy relationship with colleagues and also with immediate supervisor, meaningfulness of the job, opportunity to showcase one’s unique skills pertaining to the work, opportunity for new learning, and sharing and contributing the organizational culture as well as its goals.

Workplaces where there is no room for flexible working hours, lack of opportunity to advance, monotonous and repetitive nature of the job where there is no challenge to one’s intellectual ability and creativity, excessive overtime hours, intimidation, bullying, sexual harassment, and lack of open communication within the workplace both with colleagues and the immediate supervisor can be detrimental to mental health in the long run.

Certain personality types are found to be more prone to the stress and strain at the workplace. Persons with Type A personality, who are driven by the work itself, and who see leisure or taking a break from work as taboo, are potential candidates for breakdown both in physical as well as mental health. They are more prone to depression, and interpersonal strife, as their exacting standards are not met by others. When not able to rise up to the benchmarking they have set for themselves, they can be quite hard on themselves, which serves as fertile soil for cropping up of depression.

People high on trait anxiety, may find work place as a difficult place, as their anxiety prevents them from achieving what they are really capable of achieving, which in turn can give rise to self-doubts and subsequent depression. For a person with poor assertiveness, social and communication skills the picture is not any different. Accompanying with these shortcomings will be poor self esteem and confidence which can undermine their performance at work. These personality characteristics too can give rise to depression.

So, what can be done to ensure mental health in the work place?

Ensuring a productive work atmosphere where the employees feels valued, appreciated and rewarded for their efforts at work should be the first step to be taken. A productive work atmosphere is also the one where the employee can work without fears of expressing himself, fear of retribution, fear of intimidation, bullying or sexual harassment.

Awareness programs on healthy living, substance/alcohol use, mental health, gender bias, and stress management, as well as workshops on assertiveness and communication skills and coping skill enhancement should go a long way. Seminars and talks on work/life balance too will help immensely to ensure and maintain mental health in the work place

Employee and management accountability are equally important and there should be venues and platforms to express and enhance the same. From time to time it should also be ensured that the employee values are aligned with the organizational values and goals.

Finally if a person with mental illness is working in the organization, he/she should be treated with sensitivity and ensure that there is no discrimination that is being meted out to the person. Employee assistance programs should be available for a person who is under emotional pressure, who is having a psychiatric break down, or is plainly stressed out. In addition, creation of disability and return-to-work strategies for all employees, including those with mental illnesses will go a long way not only to ensure mental health in the work atmosphere, but also to address the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness

TAGS: mental health,   mental health in work place,   world mental health day,   dr. sandhya cherkil,   aster medcity,  

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