Recognising Mental Health in the Workplace

This World Mental Health Awareness Day we are sharing ways that you can recognise and manage mental health challenges in the workplace

10-10-2019

Executive

Thursday 10th of October is World Mental Health Awareness Day, and each year, it opens up discussions about the role mental health plays in our day to day lives, particularly in the workplace.

As we climb the corporate ladder, we often find ourselves wanting to present a strong, unshakeable and invulnerable image, even if we are struggling with our mental health.

In a recent survey conducted by Bupa Global, it was found that approximately 64% of senior business leaders have suffered from a mental health condition, including anxiety, stress and depression. Many sufferers said they feared talking about their mental health in case it would affect their career prospects or capabilities.

It’s important to recognise that even as a senior business leader you are not immune to mental health challenges. It takes a lot of personal strength and a high emotional quotient to be able to admit areas of difficulty and to get the support you need to move through them.

Recognising that stress factors are a reality in a high-flying career, allows you to acknowledge and practice self-care, which comes in many shapes and sizes. This could be - amongst other things - exercising, eating well, mindfulness practises or simply taking some rest. To be able to achieve your true potential, you will be far more efficient if you choose to look after yourself - this allows you to commit and focus on your work without emotional negativity, or any of life’s stresses or hang-ups that could impede your productivity.

As a rule, be sensible with who you confide in - depending on what you may be struggling with. It’s generally advisable to speak to your confidante, mentor or external coach. It can be lonely at the top, so ensure you are not isolated.

We are all at our best when we are happy, and this is a key factor in ensuring a healthy environment in your workplace. If you’re in the boardroom and have the platform to do so, encourage airtime for ideas of how to nurture and care for your staff whilst also reviewing their productivity and success rates. The happier you and they are, the better you and they will achieve - making this a worthwhile investment. It’s good business sense.

If things ever get particularly bad, it is incredibly important to communicate with your employer. The last thing you need on top of the challenges you are facing is a misunderstanding because of your difficulties. Often these hard times can make it difficult to have your head in the game constantly, and it may well need some work, time and patience to get back to your best self. Without someone in the organisation understanding where you are at, they can’t help you and the changes in your ability to perform as a professional may be misinterpreted.

Be honest, open and candid with key stakeholders - they don’t need to know details, but keep them in the loop with how you are, what treatment you may be undergoing and how you’re managing at work. This means everyone can work on your side, getting you back to yourself and feeling better with time, and with as little disruption as possible.

Be patient with yourself, keep going and with time you can be in a much better place - just be sure you communicate so those who care can help you get there. Drive and motivation can be hard when you’re low, but when you have the right support in place, that will be at least one weight off your shoulders.

If you’re struggling right now, there are also numerous charities you can reach out to for support: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help

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