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How the Workplace Affects Mental Health?

Updated on November 21, 2016

People are constantly feeling time pressure, performance anxiety, and luck of trust, which wreaks physiological and biological havoc. The financial impact of chronic mental diseases exceeds what would otherwise be direct costs to employers: Contributions for health insurance and pharmacy expenses are considerably less than absenteeism and lost productivity.

Most Common Mental Health Issues

Some of the most common mental health issues in the workplace are:

  • Depression. The most common disorder in the workplace, depression can manifest either into behaviours such as nervousness, restlessness, or irritability or in physical aches. As a result, employees become passive, aimless, and unproductive, with clouded decision-making.
  • Anxiety disorder. Anxiety produces different symptoms at work, like excess worrying, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and restlessness. Most people live undiagnosed for years, and only one in three diagnosed individuals who suffer from anxiety receives treatment.
  • Substance abuse. People may use alcohol or drugs at work, which can affect their productivity and teamwork. The resulting hangover, withdrawal, absenteeism, illness, reduced productivity, shortened attention span, or lack of concentration can affect job performance.
  • Bipolar disorder. Alternating periods of manic and depressive moods punctuate this disease. In the elevated manic phase, workers may appear energetic or overly aggressive, they may overspend, and productivity can suffer. During the depressive phase, the employee may show all the symptoms of depression described above.

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Risk Factors

There could be few risk factors at the workplace, which can lead to developing a mental health issue.

  • Work itself
  • Relationships between colleagues and managers
  • Level of resilience
  • Individual life’s issues
  • Lack of recognition of employee’s work
  • Bullying

Facts and Statistics

Most people work about 80% of their lives. Of course, a pay check alone can motivate people enough to do their jobs; however simple things like appreciation, respect, support, and especially showing employees how valuable they are can work miracles in creating a healthy workplace environment, increasing teamwork, and revealing employees’ highest potential. Unfortunately, studies show that less than half of the participants would describe their workplace environment as healthy.

Mental health issues are the number-one reason for employees being absent from work and for people being present at work but working on autopilot, reducing their efficiency to 20% or even less, which could be a burden for the workplace and the teamwork.

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Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment

Employers can benefit from creating a healthy workplace environment. Seeking help for depression and anxiety can be beneficial not only for the individual, but for the team members and the whole organization. Companies can develop polices around well-being, bullying, harassment, and health. Education in resilience and anxiety management could be good for all the parties. Researchers suggest that employees and employers look at the treatment of mental health issues as an investment in the long run - and the earlier they start the treatment, the less expense they will have. Both employees and employers need to raise awareness around mental health issues so more workers who need treatment have a chance to receive it.

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