Did you ever send emails to your boss applying leave (or leaves) for physical sickness? I am sure everyone did. But, did you do the same for mental health problems?
Applying leaves for mental health is somewhat exceptional. Or, in other words, you can say — it’s a stigma. But, recently an email sent by an employee to her team letting them know that she is taking break to focus on her mental health has broken that stigma.
She wrote, “I'm taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%”. It’s a brave move.
Usually, in workplaces, employees are scared of sharing their problems as they consider it as a sign of weakness. They have a perception that sharing their issues may cause job loss for them or even larger consequences. Because of this, they work under huge depression and stress — results in poor productivity, less revenue, and excessive absenteeism.
Hence, it’s crucial for companies to take the necessary steps that enable them to avoid such situations and create a healthy work environment for employees.
In the corporate world, a belief is widespread among companies that employees’ mental sickness is not their business. As employees are the most important asset of a company, giving importance to their mental health should be the company’s utmost priority. A company should build a platform for their employees where they can talk about their mental health. Through this approach, the company supports employees with their workforce needs and make the workplace healthier, happier, and productive.
Only becoming outspoken about mental health is not enough. Identifying the reason, taking initiatives to promote it, and proper treatment to cure mental health issues — all are equally important. An organization should adopt proper initiatives which include: creating policies around mental health, train management, and HR to identify issues related to mental illness and handle them carefully and successfully, supporting employees with self-tools and programs, and sharing enough resources to promote and enhance the awareness about mental health.
Many times, we have noticed that employees are working under huge depression and stress. But, they are unable to acknowledge it. It may be because they are unaware of problems associated with mental health. And, even if they acknowledge, they don’t know how to react and what to do in such situations.
Hence, deploying a qualified mental health professional is a good solution. They educate employees about the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health. Also, with the help of some role-playing exercises and open forum discussions about mental health, they reduce the stigma of mental health problems.
Don’t make mental health a taboo subject in the workplace. Create a comfortable place where employees suffering from mental sickness can easily approach their seniors or relevant teams for help. And, don’t treat employees as just members of your company; treat them as an asset and make sure you take care of your asset with your best.