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Are you really mentally secured amidst the hustle and bustle of your work environment?

“Good mental health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

In today’s highly competitive world, mental health takes a back seat. Somewhere or else, the work-life balance is getting harder and harder to maintain, and many employees bring their work stress back home. Almost two-thirds of the world’s total population is working. As per the reports released by WHO, 15% of working adults are living their lives with a mental health disorder due to work pressure, job dissatisfaction, financial crunch or an unhealthy work environment. While talking about workplace safety, it is now not so much about physical health but has become more in terms of mind space. Such work stressors can effectively decline the employees' productivity and lead to decreased confidence. While in a workspace, the stress can also be called psychosocial risk.



Poor working condition be it safety related or low job security or inequality or persistent excessive workload can be potential threats to one’s mental health. According to Oxfam, India, a women who is at the same position of that a man earns only 64% of what he earns. The figure is same across various industries despite of the fact that both the gender would hold equal experiences. Gender inequality is one of the major reasons for worsening workspace mental health. WHO reports stats that globally, on an average 12 billion working days which would give the global economy a boast of US $1 Trillion is lost to depression and anxiety due to bad workspace mental health because of one obstruction or the other.


Poor working conditions, be they safety-related, low job security, equality or persistent excessive workload, can be potential threats to one’s mental health. According to Oxfam, India, a woman in the same position as a man earns only 64% of what he makes. The figure is the same across various industries even though both genders would hold equal experiences. Gender inequality is one of the significant reasons for worsening workspace mental health. WHO reports stats that globally, on an average of 12 billion working days, which would give the global economy a boost of US $1 Trillion, are lost to depression and anxiety due to lousy workspace mental health because of one obstruction or the other.


There are innumerable hurdles to achieving a healthy headspace while meeting all your profession’s requirements. Still, regarding recovery, only a decent amount of work and inclusion would be the two most significant factors.

WHO has successfully identified mental health stressors and published guidelines for “Mental Health Safety at Work” in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation. Protecting and promoting mental health at work entails increasing skills to recognise and respond to mental health disorders at work, particularly for those with supervisory responsibilities, such as managers.


WHO recommends the following measures to protect mental health:


  • Managers’ mental health training assists them in recognising and responding to supervisees experiencing emotional distress, builds interpersonal skills such as open communication and active listening, and fosters a better understanding of how job stressors affect mental health and can be managed.

  • Worker’s mental health literacy and awareness training improves knowledge of mental health and reduces stigma against both psychological and physical health conditions at work.



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People suffering from mental illnesses have the right to work entirely and reasonably. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international treaty that promotes the rights of individuals with disabilities (including psychological problems), notably at work. The World Health Organisation suggests three strategies to help persons with mental illnesses find, keep, and participate in work:

  • Reasonable workplace accommodations tailor working conditions to a worker's mental health, capacities, requirements, and preferences. Individual workers may be given flexible working hours, extra time to accomplish tasks, adjusted assignments to alleviate stress, time off for medical appointments, or regular supportive meetings with managers.

  • Return-to-work programmes- They combine job-directed care (such as reasonable accommodations or phased re-entry to work) with continuous clinical care to help workers return meaningfully following a leave caused by mental health disorders while reducing mental health symptoms.

  • Supported employment programmes assist people with severe mental health disorders in obtaining and maintaining paid employment by continuing to provide mental health and vocational support.


Caring for your mental health at work is much more than just dealing with current mental health issues. It's also about promoting happiness. Even if you aren't experiencing a mental health crisis right now, taking care of your emotional health can help you build resilience, improve your work performance, and equip you with the tools to deal with uncertainty and obstacles in the future. The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Turn off the computer. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical, whether you work onsite or remotely. This includes taking frequent breaks across the day and turning off your screens at the end of the workday. Instead of being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to react to work messages, calls, or other communications, it is critical to focus on things that make you happy, be it your hobby or your close ones.



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  • Use relaxing techniques. Relaxing and recharging take more than simply zoning out in front of the TV on the couch. To counteract the adverse effects of stress and safeguard your psychological well-being, you must engage your body's relaxation response. Relaxation methods such as meditation, deep breathing, rhythmic activity, or yoga can accomplish this. 

  • Look after yourself. Getting adequate, sufficient rest at night, eating a portion of good, nutritious food, and exercising regularly can all make a significant difference in your mental health—at work and elsewhere. These are also parts of your life over which you have more substantial influence than many aspects of your job. The more you work on self-care, the better you'll feel. 

Inadequate mental space in your workplace will adversely affect your physical health and cognitive skills. It can also take a toll on your relationships, making it all the more imperative to have a secure workplace to have the mental stability to grab the opportunities for personal growth! 


 

REFERENCES  

  1. Robinson, L. (2023, March 1). Mental health in the workplace. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/work/mental-health-in-the-workplace.html  

  1. Mental health at work. (2022, September 28). https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/promotion-prevention/mental-health-in-the-workplace

  2. World Health Organization: WHO. (2022, September 28). Mental health at work. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-at-work 

 

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