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Why Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health in the Workplace

Just as with physical health, mental health is an essential aspect of overall employee wellbeing. Because your employees spend the majority of their day at work, addressing it in the workplace is crucial. 

A Path to Employee Wellbeing and Organizational Success

As organizations strive to create healthy and thriving work environments, it is typically more straightforward to implement and discuss physical health. However, it’s also imperative to recognize and prioritize mental health especially when the two work hand-in-hand. 

Let’s explore the impact of poor mental health in the workplace, strategies for recognizing and addressing mental health issues, the benefits of prioritizing mental health, overcoming unique challenges, and ultimately, taking action to create a supportive workplace culture.

Poor Mental Health’s Impact on the Workplace

The prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace is a growing concern, but it certainly isn’t a new one. Poor mental health has a significant impact on employees and their work performance. It is closely linked with decreased productivity and engagement, as individuals struggling with mental health challenges may struggle to concentrate, make decisions, or maintain motivation. 

Furthermore, untreated mental health issues contribute to increased absenteeism and even presenteeism, where employees show up physically but are not fully present or productive. This not only affects individual performance but also has a negative ripple effect on team dynamics and your organization’s overall productivity. 

Poor mental health can also lead to higher turnover rates, as employees may decide to seek career opportunities that seem to value their wellbeing. Left untreated, mental health issues can create a toxic workplace culture, characterized by stress, burnout, and strained relationships among colleagues.

Recognizing and Addressing Mental Health Concerns

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns is crucial for early intervention and support. These signs may include changes in behavior, mood swings, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and social withdrawal.

While the immediate response might be to react to these issues with disciplinary action, the opposite is more effective. Creating a supportive workplace culture that prioritizes mental health is vital. Employers can promote open communication and reduce the stigma around the subject, ultimately fostering an environment where employees feel safe and comfortable discussing their mental health challenges.

Beyond environmental support, providing access to mental health resources and support is essential. This can come in the for of employee assistance programs (EAPs), counseling services, mental health helplines, and wellness programming. Additionally, offering mental health training for managers and employees can help raise awareness, cultivate empathy, and equip individuals with the ability to truly support their colleagues.

Benefits of Prioritizing Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s no surprise that prioritizing mental health in your organization has the potential to yield numerous benefits. By investing in employee wellbeing, organizations create an environment where individuals continually feel supported, valued, and motivated. 

Improved employee wellbeing and engagement contribute to a reduction in absenteeism and result in increased productivity and motivation. Having a high level of morale enhances commitment, creativity, and focus in the workplace.

Prioritizing health in general empowers employees to take care of both their mental and physical health and seek support when needed. Fostering an environment that supports mental health enhances overall organizational performance. 

It also cultivates a positive and inclusive culture, attracting top talent and reducing turnover rates. Ultimately, prioritizing mental health in the workplace leads to higher job satisfaction, stronger teamwork, and improved customer satisfaction.

Overcoming Challenges in Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

While prioritizing mental health in the workplace is crucial, your organization may encounter challenges along the way. Stigma and lack of understanding surrounding mental health are common barriers. 

Educating employees and managers about mental health and reducing the stigma associated with seeking support can revolutionize your workplace. 

Limited resources and budget constraints can also pose challenges. However, your organization can explore cost-effective options such as partnering with community mental health organizations, utilizing online mental health resources, or incorporating mental health into your wellness initiatives.

Measuring the effectiveness of mental health efforts can be complex, but organizations can use employee feedback, surveys, and performance metrics to gauge the impact of their efforts. You’ll also see a rise in general attitude, productivity, and therefore, your organization’s bottom line. 

Wellness Programming: Your Organization’s Answer

A comprehensive employee wellness program provides resources to support employees' mental and physical health needs. Remember, when your workforce feels empowered to be their very best both physically and mentally, your organization thrives.

If you’re ready to elevate both mental and physical health in your organization, Wellvation can help. Contact us, and let’s get started creating a customized plan for your workforce.