Handling Mental Health Issues In the Workplace
Millennials are often times referred to as a very anxious generation. The year has been filled with a lot of mental health issues among very popular individuals. Also, a lot of celebrities have talked about therapy, personal struggles, as well as mental illness and that, has also helped in the conversations about mental health.
Handling anxiety could sometimes be complicated and even though the taboos surrounding mental illness are reducing, people still find it a bit scary. For instance, talking to your employer about the state of mental health especially if you are not confident that the conversation will turn out productive can be quite dicey.
As a matter of fact, even though employers keep claiming that they are in need of millennial workers that are talented, a lot of them are yet to implement tangible policies capable of making Millennials feel more comfortable when they are at work. A study found that about 70 percent of the women mentioned that their place of work either had no mental health policy or they did not know about it.
Lindsay Johnson (real name withheld) talked about her experience. Johnson suffers from panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, claustrophobia, and agoraphobia. She works in the capacity of a copywriter at a big technology company and she mentioned that the state of her mental health has substantially affected her work. Johnson said there are times when the panic attack just comes from nowhere and that has affected her confidence. She said she has also had to miss works while also working from home for a period longer than other employees.
She said she talked about the mental health issues with her employee and she was surprised that the conversation went well. She mentioned that her manager gave a largely positive response and encouraged her working remotely during winter season in a location that is sunny as that would help reduce her affective disorder Also, she said her employer gives employees a certain amount of stipend yearly to take care of their mental health like therapy and she had fully benefited from it.
Johnson admitted that she feels she is privileged but still gets worried about how accommodations and needs might have an effect on her mobility forging ahead in the company. She said that she feels stuck in current low-stakes and low-visibility roles.
The concerns she has are valid as recent surveys indicate that 85 percent of employees currently believe that a stigma is attached with speaking about different mental health problems in the place of work. However, there are workplaces that have policies that are better than others.
Also, the president and Founder of Inspire HR, Jaime Klein who has been in HR for more than 20 years stated that she has noticed there has been a shift but the stigma still persists.
Klein noted that thinking about how to raise the issue of mental health with the management in a company is usually different in every situation. Klein also acknowledged that some HR in work environment is trustworthy and in other instances, it is not the case. The same also applies to managers, it isn’t every worker that feels comfortable or even safe speaking to the managers.
Training About Mental health
Klein noted that at the moment, a lot of employers do not have proper training in dealing with the mental illness of their workers. New research indicates that there are obvious benefits of handling managers training about mental health. There are currently companies that make actionable decisions for improvement of the mental state of their employees.
Also, DuPont in recent times just began educational program encouraging employees to contact other workers who are also emotionally distressed. However, a lot of companies are still lagging behind. Irrespective of where your manager is on the level of knowledge about mental health, Klein suggests that once a worker has noted one person that seems approachable, then they can approach such a person and let them know four different things. The first thing to tell them is what they are struggling with, what needs and requests they have, the fact that they are working on a healing plan and are also actively working on getting better.
Importance Of Mental Health Conversations
Klein noted that this conversation about mental health actually has the same level of importance as that of physical health. It is possible that those who have never had an encounter with mental illness wouldn’t be able to give an adequate response.
As such, Klein makes the recommendation that you utilize some tangible terms such as solvable, healing plan and resources as the words can give the manager or even employer assurance about your commitment to taking charge of the situation.
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