Mental health of the employees is very important for business. The most effective method to support and attract productive and competent workers is to ensure safe and healthy work environment for everybody including employees with mental disorder.
Researchers identify several characteristics of a safe and healthy workplace: personal development is encouraged and supported; optimum mental health obstacles are identified and handled; diversity is considered to be an advantage; sick/stress leave and staff turnover is low; loyalty of staff is high; employees are team’s productive members (Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers, 2010).
Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace
Some organizational interventions’ examples for mental health promoting are as follows:
Reorganization of working processes that are poor. In case of growing intensity of work, extra work and significant time pressure involved, no organization is supposed to expect its workers to improve their performance;
Empowerment and better control over own work. People should have some autonomy amount in organizing their own process of work;
Including workers in problem solving and decision making processes. People should be involved in certain decision making processes whether in forums or by surveys and workshops;
Balancing rewards and efforts. According to the researchers, there is a strong interdependence between a reward and effort imbalance and their negative influence on employees’ mental health;
Improving feedback and communication. Creating a trust and recognition culture in the organization is necessary for professional cooperation and communication;
Clear expectations and roles. It is necessary to be clear regarding what people can expect from the company and what tasks and duties are expected from them;
Strengthening and encouraging social support. It is recommended to design the conditions in the company to strengthen and encourage a supportive culture in the organization: creating a transparent information and decision making policy constructed on trustworthy cooperation and open dialogue;
Further qualification and training. Continuing further training and education is important for good strategy of personnel development (Knifton et al., 2011).
Non-promoting Mental Health in the Workplace
Possible mental health hazards to assess. Stress is a significant contributing factor to issues with mental health in the company. There are several clear factors of risk: work overload (high demand); insufficient support from supervisors and co-workers; few amount of control; unclearly defined roles; bad management of conflict and relationships; bad participation in change; lack of reward and recognition; injustice in the organization.
Harassment and bullying in the workplace can also significantly affect an individual’s mental health. Harassment and bullying can have the form of abusive language or behavior; excessive or unfair criticism; ignoring the point of view of the worker; tactless actions or remarks which put the person down, and rumors (Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers, 2010).
Overview of the Selected Mental Health Disorders
Depression is among the three most typical workplace issues for employee assistance specialists, following only stress and family crisis. 3% of short term days of disability occur because of the depressive disorders.
Very often depressed workers will not look for treatment as they are not sure about the influence it may have on their job and due to the confidentiality concerns. A lot of workers also do not know they suffer from depression or they are afraid that their insurance does not cover the expenses (Mental Health America, n.d.).
Symptoms of the depression that can be notice by the employer include: persistent anxious, sad, or empty mood; early morning awakening, sleeping too much or too little; weight loss and/or reduced appetite, or weight gain and increased appetite; decrease of interest in things previously enjoyed; irritability and restlessness; physical symptoms that cannot be treated (e.g. chronic pain, headaches or digestive disorders); remembering, concentrating, or making decisions difficulty; loss of energy or fatigue; feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty, thoughts of death or suicide.
Successful treatment of this disorder not only reduces symptoms for employees but also improves productivity of working and employee retention. However, a lot of employment policies concerning chronic health conditions and depressive disorders, typically, are not aware about the conditions clinical understandings and the employment’s role helping with recovery improving (Depressioncenter.org, n.d.).
Many studies confirm that job stress is one of the major stress sources for modern people and that it has progressively escalated during the recent several decades. Growing job stress levels as assessed by the possessing little control but many requirements perception have been proven to be associated with high rates of hypertension, heart attack and similar disorders.
Stress management in work settings. As now defined, stress management has a restricted role in decreasing company stress as no effort is made to reduce or remove sources of work stress. Concentrating on the person as the main target for intervention of organization causes a dilemma of ‘victim blaming’. A more suitable stress management application would be redesigning of job or interventions of organizational change.
Significant effort has to be expended at the beginning to define the program purpose, delineate individual and organization goals, receiving support of the organization, and integrate the approach with existing health efforts and occupation safety (Stress, n.d.).
Behavioral symptoms of stress are as follows: aggressive behavior, drug and/or alcohol abuse, conflicts, eating disorders, decision to leave job, absenteeism, accident proneness, and other.
Many people suffer from eating disorders that include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating. Such disorders are often typically connected with embarrassment and shame preventing most sufferers from receiving treatment. According to the statistics, just one of 10 people suffering from eating disorder receives necessary treatment. In case left untreated, such disorders may influence the person’s everyday life, relationships with coworkers and productivity at work.
The workplace is a source of a significant stress for many individuals nowadays. As the stress in certain work environments can be related to an eating disorder, a positive and healthy environment at work may assist with promoting wellness and health. There are some symptoms and signs of the eating disorder. They are as follows: significant loss of weight, preoccupation with eating and food, compulsive exercising, compulsive behavior, mood swings, depression, preoccupation with body image and weight, perfectionism, withdrawing from others, difficulty concentrating, telling of being no thungry or skipping meals.
Being aware of such symptoms, and paying a significant attention to the employees’ performance at job, the employer may detect an eating disorder and explain the importance of seeking treatment to employee. It is important to never accent that a person has an eating disorder, discuss behavioral indications and poor job performance and show a concern for the individual’s overall wellness and health (Tennie McCarty, n.d.).
Eating disorders may lead to serious complications with health. In case the employee or any other person suffers from such disorder, it is recommended to seek treatment from a professional (Tennie McCarty, n.d.).
Workplace phobia means a pronounced reaction to the elements of the workplace or work (for example, coworkers, situations, objects). In general, it is typical for one to sometimes be averse to her or his job, but for the person with workplace phobia, it gets such a dread source that he or she is not able anymore to complete work successfully, or she or he takes a large quantity of sick days.
Workplace phobia symptoms. Usually it is easy to identify workplace phobia. Some of the phobia symptoms include:
Significant fear when confronted with elements related to the workplace, for example, coworkers, work duties or superiors;
Extreme anxiety or invariable panic attacks in response to the elements related to workplace;
Denial that the person’s own hyperbolized reactions to workplace or work related elements is irrational or extreme;
A substantial decrease in the quantity or quality of person’s performance at work;
A noticeable anxiety or fear decrease when elements of the workplace are not thought about or present.
Workplace Phobia Treatment. Similar to other phobias, this disorder’s treatment is better to arrange with a mental health specialist (Allaboutcounseling, n.d.).
People who frequently awaken during the night show lower work productivity, and also decline in general job performance. Besides the negative effects of performance outcomes and productivity loss, persons with awakenings in the nighttime also frequently reported other symptoms of insomnia, for instance, non-restorative sleep.
The insomnia symptoms negative effects, like nighttime awakenings, are usually underestimated and thus go undertreated and underrecognized (Neurologyreviews, 2009).
Having analyzed different sources describing mental health issues in the workplace, it is possible to conclude that nowadays the amount of stress is increasing exhausting people and leading to the various disorders. Strategies of the leaders in the organizations may produce either positive or negative effects upon the employees’ mental health. Positive ones include moderate workload, recognition and awards, healthy organizational culture and other. Among negative influences there are bullying and harassment. Most typical mental health disorders in the workplace include depression, stress, eating disorder, workplace phobia and insomnia.
Allaboutcounseling,. Workplace Phobia – Symptoms of Workplace Phobia – Treatment. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/library/workplace-phobia/
Depressioncenter. University of Michigan Depression Center. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://www.depressioncenter.org/work/depression-and-work/why-should-care/
Knifton, L., Watson, V., Gründemann, R., Dijkman, A., den Besten, H., & ten Have, K. (2011). A guide for employers. To promote mental health in the workplace (pp. 8-10). Hoofddorp: TNO.
Mental Health America,. Depression In The Workplace. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-workplace
Neurologyreviews,. (2009). Insomnia in the Workplace—Nighttime Awakenings Lead to Poor Worker Productivity. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://www.neurologyreviews.com/index.php?id=25318&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=206802
Stress,. Workplace Stress | The American Institute of Stress. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/
Tennie McCarty,. Managing Eating Disorders in the Workplace. Retrieved 19 July 2015, from http://tenniemccarty.com/2012/11/managing-eating-disorders-in-the-workplace/
Workers with Mental Illness: a Practical Guide for Managers. (2010) (p. 22). Sydney.