According to Mental Health America, that data on workplace mental health is staggering - employees need much more mental health support at work than is and has currently provided. Managing your mental health at home is different than managing your mental health at work. Both are EXTREMELY important, but the ways to look at them are different.
The following list is full of ways to manage your mental health for a successful workplace and a good work-life balance.
Talk about your feelings.
Keep in touch.
Ask for help.
Take a break.
Do something you’re good at.
Accept who you are.
Care for others.
As an employee, you may feel you have no control over workplace mental health, however, there ARE things you can do to improve it!
Let your needs be known. If you have a disability, such as hearing loss, vision loss, spinal cord injury, or epilepsy, be sure to inform your employer or HR so they can accommodate your needs. Be sure to advocate for yourself. Need help? Reach out!
Understand your workplace culture. This looks into your organization’s missions, values, and norms. Does your manager or your coworkers talk about mental health at work? Is leadership receptive to employee feedback? Did your company take employee well-being into account when responding to COVID-19? Would you describe your workplace as toxic with a capital “T”?
Listen to and understand your coworkers’ needs. There is often a discrepancy between what leaders think employees need and what employees actually need. For example, employers may offer an app to manage stress, but what employees really want is to feel accepted and connected with coworkers. If your employer is not trying to understand employees’ needs, start listening and listening to your coworkers - you may feel the same way.
Consider joining or establishing an Employee Resource Group for mental health. Organize a group of like-minded people and form an Employee Resource Group (ERG), working group, committee, or team. Recruit members who bring different perspectives, including race, gender, those with lived experience, and different levels within the organization. Focus on integrating mental health support and resources, in addition to bringing awareness within the organization.
Connect with leaders who are willing to listen. Finding a leader within the organization who is willing to listen can turn thoughts into action. A successful ERG should be able to do things such as to request a budget that covers the costs to improve workplace mental health and provide feedback to upper management about findings or recommendations.
At the end of the day, you can advocate for anything you set your mind to. Focus on your mental health this month both at home and at work, but don’t forget about your physical health!