The expression “mental health” is most often, in popular parlance, associated with the idea of mental disorders. However, like physical health, mental health refers to an overall state of well-being, not illness. In fact, mental health is more than the absence of disease. It is now increasingly recognized that people diagnosed with a mental health disorder recover from times of crisis to live a satisfying life when given the right support. The Kenneth Reitz story, which we mentioned in a previous blog, is a good example.
According to research, mental health constitutes “a search for stability between the several facets of life: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. It is shaped by living situations, the dominant collective values, and also by the values related to each person in specific. ”
Thus, achieving balance is the result of interactions between the person and the environment in which he evolves. On an individual level, each person can develop a variety of means and equip themselves with tools to feel better and adapt to the challenges they face. However, an environment that places unrealistic or even harmful demands on us will have a negative effect on achieving this balance. A plant will grow best in a fertile environment rich in essential nutrients; the same goes for the well-being of individuals. Mental health is therefore both an individual and a collective issue.
Considering this definition, why should organizations care about mental health?
1- NEGLECTING MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK COSTS ORGANIZATIONS DEARLY
First, it is important to know that not worrying about it is excessively expensive, socially, and humanly, but also from an economic point of view. Psychological distress in the workplace has significant impacts on organizations such as high rates of absenteeism and staff turnover as well as a drop in productivity. In 1995, Employers Council estimated these impacts at $ 6.5 billion annually. The direct and indirect costs (overtime, replacements, etc.) of absenteeism total, on average, 17% of the organizations’ payroll. In return, cost-benefit analyzes show that some mental health promotion and prevention measures, such as employee assistance programs, can generate $ 2-4 in savings for every dollar invested. So, promoting good organizational mental health pays off more than doing nothing. Inertia has very high costs, particularly in the field of health.
2- BETTER MENTAL HEALTH IMPROVES INDIVIDUAL EFFICIENCY AT WORK.
In our current era, preoccupied with progress and performance, most organizations are concerned that their employees make optimal use of their working time to be as efficient as possible. Contrary to the myths conveyed, long working hours, speed of execution and “multitasking” are not guarantees of efficiency. On the contrary, they are more likely to increase the stress and psychological distress of employees and therefore the number of errors and bad decision-making. Rather, cognitive science tends to show that the brain does have limits and that it needs to rest to function better. Otherwise, professionals and managers who operate in very complex situations make better decisions when they have time to think and take a step back. So, to get the “best” from each employee, it is better to have realistic demands and offer a work culture that respects the capacities of the human brain!
3- BETTER MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS INCREASES ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE.
Performance is undoubtedly linked to a clear definition of processes and the organization of tasks within the organization. However, these processes and tasks will be all the more effective if they are implemented by healthy work teams. Indeed, recent studies confirm that group dynamics have significant effects on the performance of work teams. One of the characteristics of effective teams is the establishment of a climate that promotes psychological safety.
In short, teams that value empathy and fairness among their members work better, are more creative and perform well. Thus, to get the “best” from work teams, organizations have every interest in emphasizing collaboration and psychological well-being in the workplace. In summary, taking mental health into account in the workplace is an added value, both for individuals who see their well-being at work improved, but also for organizations which can thus ensure optimal development in their own right. relying on efficient work teams.
HOW TO HELP THE WORKFORCE IMPROVE THE MENTAL HEALTH IN OFFICE?
Create A Speakers Bureau: Government of Canada employees have created a list of public servants sharing their lived experiences in mental health, contributing to an open and stigma-free dialogue
Create An End-Of-Life List As A Team: Create an end-of-life list with your team to identify personal and professional goals, help staff focus on their personal lives outside of work, while balancing their day-to-day tasks and career path.
Organize A Walking Group: Going for a dinner walk is fantastic for your mental health, so improve the well-being of your organization by starting a walking group.
Run A Wellness Training Program Such As The Working Mind: Working Mind is a training program designed to promote well-being at work and address the stigma associated with mental illness, through a combination of scenario learning, reference guides, and resources.
Participate in Yoga Classes & Online Therapy: Yoga and online therapy are known to increase flexibility, build muscle strength, improve bone health, and more. Do a short yoga sitting at your desk or attend a class with a colleague.
Give Your Ears to A Podcast Focusing on Mental Health Podcasts: Lots of podcasts explores the human side of the in their podcast while tackling mental and psychological health issues.
Fundraising for A Cause: Research shows that helping others is indeed beneficial for your mental health and well-being, as it can reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and even improve physical health.
Allow Employees to Bring Their Pets to Work: Pets can benefit mental health in the workplace as they promote work-life balance, reduce stress, and promote productivity.
And Finally: Appoint (Or Become) A Champion For Mental Health: A mental health champion is someone who is passionate about mental health and is ready to be the ‘face’ of the system by representing the vision, engaging employees at all levels, and raising awareness of the importance of psychological health and safety.