Lots of people find work good for their mental health for many reasons. A fulfilling work role can help to develop a positive sense of identity. A steady source of income can help to have a stable, comfortable and enjoyable home and social life.
The workplace can provide opportunities to have contact and develop friendships with others. A job can provide routine and structure to day-to-day life. A job can enable individuals to develop knowledge and skills through development and training.
However it is also important to acknowledge that at times employees can find themselves feeling stressed at work, and this may be due to pressures in the workplace, but also may be due to increased stress at home spilling over into their work lives. Good stress management is vital to help employees avoid developing a mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression.
The first and most important step is making the commitment to treat workforce mental health as a fundamental part of the business. It is vital to lead from the top and set an example. This can be achieved by agreeing a mental health strategy which promotes a culture of wellbeing at work. This should include assessing the risk of workplace stress and identify ways of reducing the risks through support and training.
The creation of a mental health plan and communicating this across the business from board level down, along with the appointment of a mental health champion to promote positive mental health and tackle stigma, is a clear signal for change. Implement simple steps to change the culture such as facilitating staff to take breaks, take part in exercise and provide a healthy environment. Organise company events to promote and strengthen relationships amongst the workforce that are inclusive to all members of the workforce.
Initiatives are most successful when senior management act as role models and get involved. It is important that employees know how to recognise the signs of stress and the causes. Some organisations provide employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to give their staff access to free advice and counselling. Organisations may also set up a buddy or mentoring network.