Prioritising mental health is especially important in the workplace, where people spend most of their waking time. There is a direct relationship between employee mental health and workplace productivity; studies by Deloitte and MHFA England have shown that a significant portion of the workforce experiences mental health challenges that affect their productivity, engagement, and overall satisfaction at work.

It is vital to growth to create a working environment that is supportive of good mental health. However, this requires a joint effort from both employers and employees. Employers can implement policies that foster a collaborative, respectful culture, while employees can learn how to set boundaries and support their fellow teammates. It is a constantly evolving journey, but if done well, the benefits are well worth it.

The Role of Employers: Building a Supportive Environment

There is great incentive for employers to take the lead in creating a workplace culture that is supportive of mental health. Happy, satisfied employees are likely to be more productive and stay longer in their jobs, as well as causing fewer incidences of absenteeism, presenteeism and other performance issues. Management can be an active mental health ally by implementing supportive policies such as:

Encourage Open Conversations

There remains, unfortunately, significant stigma around mental health that prevents employees from seeking help. Employers can break down the stigma by creating spaces for open discussions about mental health, such as hosting awareness events, workshops and talks. These can also make it easier for people to recognise their issues and reach out.

Provide Mental Health Training

Employers can empower their employees by giving them the tools they need for effective mental health management – both for themselves and for others. It is especially important for managers to receive mental health training so that they can better recognise any mental health issues and know how best to support their teams through sensitive issues.

Ensure Access to Resources

Do not underestimate the value of including access to mental health resources as part of the workplace benefits. For instance, employers can provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and allocate budget for counselling and psychiatry sessions. Having these in place makes getting help easy and shows your employees that you take mental health seriously.

Support a Healthy Work Culture

Cultivating an environment that values diversity, inclusion and respect is key to good mental health. Encouraging respectful communication and having a zero-tolerance policy on harassment will go a long way to making people feel safe. Additionally, supporting practices that maintain a healthy work-life balance – such as allowing flexible work arrangements or banning non-urgent after-hours communication – can also reduce stress and burnout risk.

The Role of Employees: Taking Personal Responsibility

Everyone has their own responsibility to adopt good mental health practices and know when to seek help if needed. Being proactive about mental health care helps you build better personal mental resilience, reduces the impact of any mental stressors on your health and work performance, and makes you more well-equipped to support others. Here are some things that you can do to take charge of your own mental health:

Seek Support When Needed

The first step to solving a problem is recognising you have one. The second step is acting to fix it. If you are struggling with mental health issues, understand that reaching out does not make you any less, especially if your employer has allocated resources to support you. Whether it’s meeting a counsellor, joining a support group or leveraging digital services, using these resources to set yourself on the path to recovery is already an act of bravery.

Stay Educated

Like any skill, effective mental health management is something that must be learned. Participate in webinars, talks and other events that provide mental health education so that you can learn how to recognise your issues and how to manage them. Sometimes the answer is as simple as regulating your breathing before you act; other times, you may need professional help. Either way, having at least some knowledge is half the battle.

Embrace Self-Care

Good habits like eating well, engaging in regular physical activity, getting sufficient sleep and setting work-life boundaries contribute towards a healthier state of mind and improve your wellbeing in and out of work. Long-term consistency can translate to higher energy levels, improved focus, better overall work performance and an increased capacity to support others.

Nurture Workplace Relationships

Having a supportive work group can help lighten your load and enhance your sense of belonging. Make the effort to build relationships with your colleagues and participate in team-building activities. Good workplace relationships can provide valuable personal and professional support, preserving your wellbeing while increasing overall productivity.

Take Care of Your Mental Health with Coolaroo Clinic

Given the proven benefits of promoting good mental health at the workplace, it is clear that employee mental health will continue to be a priority for successful organisations. As this trend gains momentum, it is hoped that the rise of supportive workplaces and workforces will lead to greater awareness around the importance of mental health within our societies.

Feeling overwhelmed or just need someone to talk to about your mental health? At Coolaroo Clinic, we understand the importance of individualised care. Our General Practitioners (GPs) can offer a supportive space to discuss your initial concerns, while our resident psychologist can provide more specialised help with psychological conditions. Schedule a consult today and take the first step towards managing your mental health. Your well-being is our priority.