Last updated:

February 13, 2023


 min read

The importance of creating a supportive environment for employees with mental health issues

Did you know that, on average, people spend 1/3rd of their lives at work? Taking care of your mental health at work is more important than ever!

Reviewed by
Reyana D’Souza
Written by
Malvika Rathi

The statistic above suggests that your workspace is an integral and huge part of your life and directly impacts various domains of your life, including mental health. 

Employees are the strongest assets and backbone of any company. It is with their collective hard work, skills, and creativity an organisation achieves its goals and vision. These assets of the organisation must be nurtured and taken care of. For the longest time, it meant only paying attention to the physical and financial requirements of the employees. 

However, there has been a wave of more conversations around mental health, which has taken to the workplace too! According to a statistic published by India Today, a whopping 47% of professionals in India are facing stress related to their workplace, and it is affecting their overall mental health. 

Today, employees' mental health has become a top priority for any company because it reflects their values, culture, and productivity. For better outcomes in the business and on the employee front, creating a supportive environment for employees with mental health issues is extremely important. In this article, we explore the importance of creating a supportive workspace and how to promote mental health at work. 

What is mental health in the workplace? 

In a professional working environment, mental health entails employees' psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Employees with good mental health respect themselves and others, form strong bonds with coworkers and manage the demands and obstacles of their jobs daily.

Why is mental health in the workplace important? 

Positive mental health is crucial because it enables people to navigate life's challenges and setbacks at work and home. Teams with good mental health in the workplace are more flexible and able to adapt to changes in duties and responsibilities. This leads to a more resilient workforce, improved job performance, and the ability for each person to reach their full potential.

It's important to address mental health in the workplace, especially with the growing awareness of its significance. Providing a supportive and safe environment where employees feel comfortable speaking out without fear of retaliation is essential.

At times, the workspace might get overwhelming, and if the proper steps aren't taken to reduce stress, it could result in employees losing interest in work, making poor decisions, and having high turnover rates. 

Factors at Workplace which can cause mental stress

There are multiple factors at the workplace which can cause mental stress among employees, such as: 

Ineffective Communication

The hallmark of a positive manager-employee relationship is cordial and effective communication. On the other hand, ineffective communication and practices can put stress on the workplace, strain relationships, and negatively affect mental health.

No support for Employees 

Employees may feel overburdened and unmotivated if managers don't help eliminate barriers or share resources with them. Managers should, for instance, illustrate how to finish tasks that employees need clarification on rather than expecting them to figure it out independently and be ready to answer inquiries.

Performance Pressure 

Employees are under unreasonably high pressure to perform at their best. The pressure leads to an increased workload, longer working hours, more stress, and emotional fatigue. This does not help the company or the employees and hampers their performance further. 

How to talk about mental health at work 

Mental health is personal, and every individual has unique ways of managing their health. Some might prefer to open up and talk to their employers about it, while others prefer to keep it to themselves. There is no right or wrong choice, and you are not obligated to declare a mental illness to your boss. 

However, it is best to let your employer know if your mental health is hurting your job. A major reason behind this is that you give your employer a chance to support you correctly by being transparent with them. They can adjust your surroundings to meet your needs if they know your struggles and how they affect your job. 

Consider who you would feel most comfortable talking to if you decide to disclose something to your employer. You might speak to your boss if you get along well with them. If not, it might be best to contact your HR department. 

Think about how much information you want to include as well. You are free to speak as much or as little as you like. If you don't feel comfortable sharing personal information, you can centre the conversation on how your mental health is affecting your career and vice versa. 

Remember that you are not burdening your employer by discussing your mental health. They have a reason to pay attention to you and stand with you.

Promoting mental health in the workplace 

While most employees don't think twice about taking time off to visit the dentist, many are probably reluctant to get the mental health care they need. Make it obvious that as an employer, you support employees' efforts to care for their mental health in the same way that you care for their physical health. 

Make it clear that you won't penalise anyone for taking care of their mental health, whether that means allowing an employee to take a mental health day or providing a flexible work schedule so an individual can attend counselling sessions.

Most mental illnesses can be treated, but many are missed because people don't recognise the symptoms of a disorder. Providing access to screening services and cancelling stigma by having more honest conversations can genuinely help promote mental health. 

Rocket Health places paramount importance on employee well-being as a health-first company and has fostered a collaborative, safe, and nurturing workspace. And our only advice to other companies out there would be to practise the same!

Not sure how to promote mental health for your workforce in the best way? We've got you covered. Click the link below to get started!