I hear it often from individuals that their workplace doesn’t proactively support employee mental wellbeing all year round. It seems that there is still some “taboo” around the subject. What we all need to think about and create are better frameworks for taking care of our minds at work and learning the skills to be more resilient and live our lives in a positive way. We know from research that when Companies support wellbeing initiatives then employees feel more supported. We also know that when individuals take responsibility for their own wellbeing development that they become more engaged, motivated and flourish better in the workplace and in their personal life.
Approximately one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Yet, many of them suffer in silence. Some people fail to recognise they’re experiencing a mental health issue. Instead, they may associate their symptoms with aging or assume that their problems are just a normal part of stress.
But this shouldn’t be just a company driven initiative. I encourage individuals to take responsibility and initiate, drive and support mental wellbeing, resilience and personal development activities in their work and personal environments, not just for themselves but for their colleagues too.
We need to remind ourselves that we are not born with the knowledge on how to best support our minds, it is a learnt behaviour. But where do we learn? Well, given that most people spend at least 25% of their week in a workplace environment and that the work load and expectations for performance contribute greatly to stress levels, wouldn’t it make sense for this to come from the workplace environment? To me it is also about showing conscious leadership. Remembering that employees are also Mum’s, Dad’s, Sisters, Brothers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and need to function optimally in all areas of their life to flourish.
If people aren’t feeling well mentally, then they will not feel engaged or committed at work or in their personal life.
A major part of de-stigmatising mental wellbeing in the workplace is about creating a climate where employees feel they can have discussions around stress, resilience and wellbeing and learn about tools and behaviours that are proactive in building healthier minds.
The development and implementation of a workplace mental wellbeing and personal development programme will benefit the health of employees, increase the productivity of the company and will contribute to the well-being of the community at large. Conscious leadership = social impact!
There are a few basic steps individuals can take to embrace better conversations around mental health in the workplace.
- Striking up a conversation about training the mind can open the door to broader conversations about our mental wellbeing, resilience and health – our overall personal development.
- Actively get involved in any workplace activity that supports your wellbeing
- Normalise taking care of your mind as a daily activity and share what you do
- Research and introduce opportunities for colleagues to focus on their mental wellbeing, both inside and outside the office.
- An app-based platform like Open The Door Wellbeing, which has programmes, challenges, tools and exercises to develop individual wellbeing, can be a great way to help individuals develop learnings and new habits and encourage conversation.
- Ask your manager what initiatives could be started to support the team
- If you’re a manager then regularly check in with your staff