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Why should Companies Create Awareness for Mental Health in the Workplace?

Recognised world-wide, October is Mental Health Awareness month. According to the online dictionary Mental Health can be defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Unfortunately, in many workplaces, mental health and its influence on physical health is still misunderstood. Companies still underestimate the financial impact it has on business. This is the ideal time for proactive management in companies to create awareness of employee wellbeing and to elevate their own wellness programmes in order to promote beneficial Mental Health.

According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) “16.5% of South Africans suffered from common mental disorders like depression and anxiety in the last year…” In their research done in 2014, SADAG also revealed some alarming statistics on depression and its impacts specifically in the workplace. They found that:

  • 1 in 4 employees has been diagnosed with depression
  • Depression caused employees to take 18 Days off from work a year
  • 80% of employees were working during their Depression
  • Only 25% of managers felt they had sufficient support to deal with employees suffering from depression

Can you imagine what the research results will reveal if it was conducted now during the pandemic crisis?

Danzae Pace was quoted as saying: “Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.” 

Nevertheless, employers avoid asking too many questions or don’t want to interfere. They hope by ignoring the signs, the mental health disorders of their staff will just disappear on their own, but in actual fact it will just increase and result in workplace burnout.

Furthermore, despite the vital role the workplace plays in the general mental health and wellbeing of their employees, there are still quite a few companies that shy away from their responsibilities to help resolve these issues. They simply can’t see the value and don’t believe they will benefit anything out of creating wellness awareness and establishing sound wellness programmes within the workplace. This could not be further from the truth.

Paul Farmer reiterates this when he stated: “The workplace is often the most stressful place a person finds themselves in. Employees and managers need to keep an eye out for signs of deteriorating mental health in fellow colleagues.” 

Did you know that by improving the mental health of your employees it will:

  • make them mentally resilient to stress,
  • improve their self-motivation
  • improve their positive outlook on life,
  • improve their thinking,
  • improve their decision-making,
  • increase their productivity ultimately increasing the business’s bottom-line
  • build better relationships at work

Companies who invest in programmes and create awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace will reduce absenteeism which ultimately results in huge cost savings for the business.

Mental health issues are continuing to rise and people as well as businesses are suffering because of it. Our Emotional and Mental Wellness has been placed at risk because we all had to cope with increased stress. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Mindspa Institute offers help to proactive managers who want to create awareness and own up to their responsibility towards creating workplace and emotional wellness among their staff in the form of a variety of short courses. These powerful and inspiring workshops will help all the delegates to take a moment to re-evaluate themselves and their situations, give them coping mechanisms and help them to take the first steps towards creating wellness even in these uncertain times.