I believe the mental health area should be thought through on a corporate level and a proper plan should be made to improve this area at workplaces. Mental health problems are becoming more and more common and most people seek help only when they have developed quite serious symptoms. Organizations can foresee this and get great results with systematic prevention techniques.
Burnout, stress, and imbalance in work and home life are becoming more frequent in our society. Due to modern technology, people are becoming reachable at any time and any place. Oftentimes people don’t turn off their work emails or notifications when they are supposed to finish their work. Instead, they still react to work-related matters after work as well.
While this might seem like a good thing from the employer’s perspective at first, it actually isn’t and will backfire sooner or later. Of course, the work-home imbalance is not the only reason why people get stressed at work. Reasons probably vary, but continuing stress and burnout still have the same consequences for the organizations: decreased productivity, more mistakes, sick leaves, and even employees leaving their job.
Of course, people are different and due to individual differences some will encounter burnout sooner, some later, and some not at all. In general, stress and burnout at work are a big problem and not only for the employees but also for employers. Eventually, constant stress can lead to serious health problems, both physical and mental, such as depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems and are huge contributors to the overall disease burden in the world. People, who turn towards professional help, oftentimes do it only when their suffering has become unbearable. They look for help when they already have severe depression or anxiety, sometimes both. The longer people wait before they do something about their symptoms, the more difficult it will be to treat them.
There might be different reasons why people don’t seek help sooner, starting from poor knowledge or false shame about mental health problems and ending with long waiting times or high prices. Employers have a great opportunity to meet people halfway here. I guess it’s really important to start educating people about mental health problems and also increase the possibilities to get help sooner. That’s a great way for employers to show they care.
I believe many cases of serious depression and anxiety disorder can be prevented by taking the right action sooner.
Big problems can start with small and seemingly unimportant issues. When those „small“ and „unimportant“ problems will be addressed at the right time and with the right kind of attention, then there is a big possibility that they do not turn into serious mental health issues. This is a big win not only for individuals but also for organizations.
Organizations that will engage in preventing mental health problems can decrease sick leaves and employee turnover, and increase their employee’s productivity instead. To accomplish that, a systematic approach to improving mental health should be taken on the corporate level. The beginning could be educating the employees about mental health and different possibilities to support it, starting to talk about it openly, bringing in professionals to talk about specific techniques, etc. A big leap forward would also be offering employees the possibility of counseling sessions. We need to start putting a lot more effort into addressing mental health challenges.