Unpacking The Stigma Around Workplace Mental Health

Mental health is one of the crucial topics that is openly stigmatized in society. Nowadays, it is more important than ever to make your business mental health friendly. Due to this reason, individuals suffering from mental health issues do not seek professional help to improve their psychological well-being and quality of life. According to research, 22% of individuals with clinical mental disorders are afraid to take professional help due to fear of being judged by coworkers. The mental health stigma is not confined to an individual’s personal life but also spreads to the workplace. Job insecurity, lack of balance, and a toxic work environment are some of the reasons that lead to mental health crises.

What Is Stigma?

To understand the stigma around workplace mental health, the person must have an insight into what is stigma in general. Stigma is a negative or biased attitude toward someone based on gender, race, sexuality, or ethnicity. The prejudiced beliefs also apply to individuals with physical and psychological health conditions or disabilities.

One of the primary reasons behind stigmas is a lack of understanding and knowledge. People make false perceptions when they have little or no information about the topic. In the case of health conditions, fear can also lead to stigmatization. Since information on psychological problems and their causes is not widely available, it’s easy to believe myths that support prejudiced beliefs.

Mental Health Stigma In The Workplace

Even though employers believe they provide a safe and supportive environment, that is not the case in all corporate offices. 80% of employees report that they experience stress at work, and 15% of working adults deal with a mental disorder in their daily lives. You need to take forward-looking measures to combat low workplace morale.

The stigma around mental health occurs even in progressive workplaces, as such candidates perceive their reputation will suffer if they admit battles with their mental health. Moreover, talented candidates are discouraged from applying to these businesses because they believe they will become ineligible for the job by sharing their psychological health concerns.

How Can Workplaces Cause Mental Health Problems?

A stressful work environment harms employees’ mental health, as toxic and over-demanding businesses put extra pressure on employees. This blurs the line separating work from personal life, and the employee has no place to distress and relax. Employees need a pathway to achieve work-life balance. As a result, they stay under constant mental pressure that can transform into stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders.

Additionally, some workplaces have a biased attitude based on gender, race, and sexuality. Despite offering a job, employers show discriminatory behavior towards a particular group of people. Constant exposure to these mannerisms lowers self-esteem and damages the worker’s mental well-being. Most employees even change their job due to these reasons. Apart from this, the workers’ mental health can get affected due to the following:

  • Excessive workload
  • Job insecurity
  • Interpersonal relationships at work
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment and Anti Harassment employee training
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Lack of managerial support

How Mental Health Stigma Affects a Company

Employees are not the only ones who have to suffer from mental health stigma. A toxic work environment hurts the company’s objectives as well.

Lost Productivity

A poor working environment lowers employees’ productivity levels. The constant pressure to perform and meet unrealistic deadlines can lead to burnout. A burned-out employee will not give their hundred percent, ultimately costing the company’s profits.

Higher Employee Turnover

Workers will move on to better opportunities if a workplace keeps compromising employees’ mental health. Employees with mental health issues, such as depression and stress, are more likely to leave the employer. This leads to a high employee turnover rate, which lessens the chances of acquiring new talent.

How to Address Burnout in The Workplace?

Employees can experience burnout and mental strain even in a healthy working environment. Companies can create a mental health-supporting policy to help reduce burnout. Some effective techniques to use are:

  • Assigning casual and annual leaves to employees allows them to take recovery time. If they are under high work pressure, taking some days away from the office can improve their mental well-being.
  • Managers must keep their minds open and be subjective when managing each employee. A strategy that works on one employee can cause stress for another.
  • Employers can organize social activities that build healthy interactions between team members. It will allow them to understand each other better and support them in difficult times.

Mental health stigma is a major concern in workplaces. An unsupportive work environment or the fear of being judged by colleagues can lead employees to hide their mental health problems. Without professional treatment, psychological issues can escalate, decreasing performance and quality of life. Employers can create a safe work environment that allows employees to feel safe about sharing their issues and concerns instead of hiding them due to the fear of stigmatization.

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