Mental Health Solutions for a Busy Work Force
This article was excerpted from a webinar with the same title. To hear the full webinar, click here.
Stress and anxiety can be common for many of those involved in the fast-paced, busy office that is the stereotypical American work environment. No matter what field you are in, or how many hours a week you work, your job is most likely a big part of your life that consumes a lot of energy. While there may not be a way to directly remove the stress and demands of your work life, there are ways to control how it affects your physical and mental health.
It is common for mental health to take a back seat when it comes to recognizing and caring for an individual’s overall well-being. In the past, society has not placed a lot of attention on mental health and the importance of care. This has created a cause for change as more, and more individuals are beginning to experience issues related to the effects of neglecting mental health.
Mental health issues caused by stress can directly affect job performance and productivity, physical health and well-being, and daily functioning. A prolonged lack of care and treatment of mental health issues can lead to physical health implications such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, as well as muscle, bone, and joint-related issues. Individuals who are impacted by mental illnesses that have gone untreated are at a higher risk of experiencing a wide range of chronic physical health conditions.
In a 2016 survey, one in five adults reported some mental health concern with 71% of individuals indicating at least one stress-related symptom. Stress-related symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and many more.
Only half of the individuals who require treatment for mental health receive it. This is often due to a lack of awareness of the resources available, a fear to seek help, restrictions due to cost or lack of available providers.
These numbers were troubling before the pandemic, and since then have only continued to increase as a result. Since the pandemic, an estimated one in four employees feel that their health has suffered because of their job, and 25% of these individuals feel that they are underperforming at work due to stress-related implications.
Poor mental health has a direct effect on job performance, employee engagement, and productivity. A lack of treatment can cause these illnesses to interfere with a person’s ability to complete tasks associated with a job. This has led to higher rates of disability, unemployment, and an increase in health care spending.
With approximately 63% of Americans involved in the workforce, wellness programs have the power to create change, as they have an impact on mental health and how it is addressed in the workplace. Studies demonstrate that employees feel supported when their leadership and management support and prioritize mental health initiatives. Through the implementation of wellness programs in the workplace, employees can have access to resources that will help them to be aware of issues related to the state of their mental health and ways to care for it. The implementation of mental health initiatives in a wellness program not only improves the health and productivity of the employee but also helps to improve the culture of the company by making it a more positive and functional environment.
The stress response varies upon each individual and circumstance. By providing the resources needed and the opportunities to learn how to control these stress responses, we can create a positive impact on employee health in the workplace. The implementation of a well-rounded and effective wellness program is the first step towards providing employees with the resources and care they need to make positive changes to their health and their overall wellness.
How Can You Create a Positive Culture Surrounding Mental Health in the Workplace?
Engage with your employees and understand their needs. You can’t help what you don’t know. Listen to your employees.
Evaluate your wellness program to maximize employee engagement. Start with a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) or a survey of employee needs to gain a better understanding of how to help.
Engage leadership in the wellness program. This leads to more success overall as it allows employees to feel supported and more willing to engage.
Offer mental health assessments, behavioral health coaching or counseling, or resources to seek help.
Offer and promote stress management lessons and techniques and seminars on mental health awareness and treatment.
Create a peaceful, quiet space at work for relaxation activities and meditation. Provide the flexibility for employees to take breaks to participate in these activities when needed.
Educate office leadership about the benefits offered through their insurance plan and ensure that employees are fully aware of the resources available to them and how to access these resources.
Mental health and wellness should be a top priority for every employer looking to provide wellness initiatives to their employees. Wellness programs can be used as a resource to encourage employees to put their physical and mental health first, and therefore perform to the best of their abilities at work. A happy, healthy employee is an engaged employee. Contact us to learn more about how Wellness Workdays can help develop or enhance your organization’s wellness program and support the behavioral and mental health needs of your employee population.