How Mental Health Affects the Workplace
This October is World Mental Health Month. At AtWork, we take mental health seriously, so we wanted to take this opportunity to shine a light on various topics surrounding mental health in the workplace. Employees (and leaders!) cannot simply leave mental illnesses at the door when they come to work; here are a few ways that affects the workplace:
Certain issues like anxiety can cause you to lose focus and put off working on projects and tasks that are large, time-consuming, daunting, etc. According to this article from A Lust for Life, “This can become procrastination, where we will find a way to distract ourselves. Or possibly we might start an easier, lower priority job, to make ourselves feel like we are being productive. Our priority work, however, remains unstarted, and now we have less time.”
Difficulty facing feedback
Mental illness can cause you to have difficulty dealing with things like performance reviews or regular feedback. If you’re aware you’re about to receive feedback, you may spend copious amounts of time worrying about the various outcomes, and any negative feedback can land some damaging blows to your self-confidence, even if the issue is minor and easily addressable.
Strained working relationships
If you have a mental illness, you likely already know how it presents itself within social settings. Maybe you spend a lot of time worrying about what your coworkers and/or manager(s) think about you. Maybe you have the tendency to isolate yourself from time to time. Whatever the case, working relationships can begin to become strained.
As an employer, it’s crucial to acknowledge that mental health has a large impact in the workplace, and finding ways to support employees who may be struggling will likely help everyone involved.
If you feel that your mental illness(es) is negatively impacting your work performance, it would likely be beneficial to consider receiving treatment. For more serious issues, here are two hotlines:
SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers a free helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available at 1-800-273-8255