Why is mental health in the workplace growing in significance? More people are suffering with mental health issues, with 1 in 4 people in the UK recognising a struggle with mental health problems (Mental Health Midlands, 2021).
Mental health issues do not just relate to ongoing and constant problems, they can also arise in specific situations, or in certain environments. For example, a stressful period may cause higher levels of anxiety and depression.
With the ongoing pandemic, people are struggling more with work life related issues. In times of lockdown and social distancing, many of us were faced with the problems of working from home, and the blurred lines of personal and work live. We have replied to work emails and texts all around the clock, sometimes even in the middle of the night. It is now thought that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace, which makes up 14.7% of the entire UK workforce (Mental health statistics: mental health at work, 2021). Additionally, evidence shows that almost 13% of all sick days in the UK are due to mental health conditions.
We would like to address this growing problem and suggest some ways to reduce the mental health struggles attributed to your work life, and why this is an important focus for a good workplace culture.
Here are our 5 tips to improve mental health in your work life:
Take a break – the pressure to be available all the time can be extremely detrimental to your mental health. Make sure to take regular breaks during the working day, as well as ensuring you completely switch off after your working hours.
Time for yourself – Having time off work if essential, as it will not only improve your mental health, but also helps you feel less anxious and overwhelmed. This in turn has a positive impact on your productivity in the long run.
Emotional networking – The importance of emotional bonding in the workplace should not be underestimated. Having a friend in the workplace is a need, not a want. Women who have a best friend in the workplace are happier and more engaged than those who do not (Psycom, 2020).
Break it down –A large task can be exceptionally daunting and may even feel impossible to tackle. This can create feelings of doubt, uncertainty, anxiety and even depression. We suggest breaking the task down into smaller micro-goals, making each step much more manageable and achievable.
Sharing is caring – Sometimes all we need is to feel appreciated, and according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Cherry, 2015), our psychological needs play a key role in determining our motivation at work. Therefore, positive feedback whether you are giving it or receiving it, is extremely important and often underestimated. Take time to give.
Cherry, K., 2015. The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. [online] About.com Education. Available at: <http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm> [Accessed 20 May 2021].
Mental Health Foundation. 2021. Mental health statistics: mental health at work. [online] Available at: <https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-mental-health-work> [Accessed 14 May 2021].
Mental Health Midlands. 2021. 1 In 4 People In The UK Suffer From Mental Health Issues – Mental Health Midlands. [online] Available at: https://mentalhealthmidlands.co.uk/articles/1-in-4-people-in-the-uk-suffer-from-mental-health-issues [Accessed 14 May 2021].
Psycom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1996. 2021. Mental Health in the Workplace: Tips from Experts. [online] Available at: <https://www.psycom.net/mental-health-work> [Accessed 18 May 2021].