We all have moments in our life when either we hit the wall or the wall hits us with stress, uncertainty, and the unexpected and negative experiences. How we cope with them is a reflection of our mental wellness. Sometimes we need support that gives us the mental framework to manage, deal, and get through what we might be experiencing. Seeking the support you need to keep moving in a healthy direction in life is not a weakness, it is the pursuit of strength.
Mental wellness includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also determines how we deal with pressure, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is crucial at every stage of life, from the early life and formative years to the adulthood.
When the 2020 pandemic was in full swing, our pediatrician shared that on average she dealt with one child a week under the age of 10 struggling with depression or anxiety. When the pandemic started, she stated that her caseload jumped to 15-20 children a week. So this highlights the fact that change affects us all in significant ways and how important it is that we learn to make mental wellness a priority just like physical wellness.
Many factors contribute to mental health issues, some being:
• Biological elements, together with genes or brain chemistry
• Age – hormones change as our body changes
• Life experiences, consisting of trauma or abuse
• Family history of mental health troubles
As a result, there are different types of mental health issues that can arise:
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• Body dysmorphic disorder
• Poor decision making
• The development of unhealthy habits – overeating, drinking, gambling
• Fatigue and exhaustion
How do you promote mental wellness in the workplace?
First, a plan should be created. This plan doesn’t need to be perfect. Allow room for progress. It will change over time. You have to create a plan that involves education, empowerment, and awareness. This means having real conversations, listening, learning what to say, what not to say, how to spot the signs that someone is struggling, making it easy to provide a safe avenue where someone who needs support can safely get what they need. Most of the time, people won’t speak up about their struggles based on fear – fear of what others may think, fear of being rejected, and fear of losing their employment. They may view it as a weakness and some people just don’t feel comfortable demonstrating vulnerability. An effective wellness plan will contribute to remove the fear and highlight the avenues of support.
Why workplace mental health matters?
I have been professionally speaking for nearly three decades and I can tell you from observation that most organizations and leaders fall INCREDIBLY short in terms of employee wellness. I think it’s just an uncomfortable topic for many so they just ignore it or make suggestions that aren’t really supportive. An example, “You all have been working hard and seem burned out, let’s all go grab a drink and decompress.”
That may sound soothing and comfortable to you, but it may not solve the problem of a person who needs to get better or back on track. Hard working employees aren’t the same as engaged and smart working employees. There is a HUGE difference. I can look busy all day long, but that will not get the job done and achieve the best results. That’s the reason why a part of the wellness plan is ensuring that employees are mentally showing up, engaged, and coping with the everyday duties and demands of a job.
When an employee is struggling, they cannot deliver their work efficiently. Depression has become the leading cause of disability across the globe, and it’s anticipated that 172 million workdays are misplaced due to despair each year. Stress, tension, and different intellectual fitness troubles compound this problem leaving humans less engaged, less focused, and inefficient.
How can you help your staff or team?
There are many ways through which you can help or support your staff’s mental well-being. Some of them are:
• Speak candidly about mental health.
• Encourage employees to take mental health days off.
• Pay attention to the signs and be ready to help.
• Make sure the tools and resources are relevant and easily accessible.
• Provide education and learning resources. What makes wellness a foundation of strength and support is when we understand it better.
Different strategies are made to encourage and promote mental health and wellness in the workplace by the leaders, which keep the employee in a good position.
CREATE A SAFE PLACE
My question is, “Is my workplace a safe place from the standpoint that I can be real about what I am dealing with and get the support I need without negative consequences – judgment or loss of employment.”
REACH OUTSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
When I am hired to give a speech, most see what I offer on the surface – an inspirational and artistic experience that is fun and uplifting. Yes, my speeches have that effect, but beneath the surface is the substance. All of my research and focus is empowering how we think – our mental wellness. I believe, when we think better, we feel better, we lead better, we serve better, we handle the pressure better, we communicate better….and that list can go on all day. It all starts with how we think. So investing in an outside source is an excellent way to improve morale and wellness.
Hiring an expert who connects and communicates with effectiveness is so essential. There is nothing wrong with diversity. Mix it up. One of my clients offers a new presenter on mental wellness every 8-12 weeks.
PROMOTE HEALTHY HABITS
Often times, out of sight is out of mind. When you walk into my office, I have papers all over the floor – not scattered like a two-year-old had field day by tossing them all over but organized in a way that I can see what needs attention. That is just my process. I may have one stack of bills, projects, or notes for speeches. Having them in my sight helps me keep what I need to do at the front of mind. So, I think promoting mental wellness starts by promoting the healthy factors that contribute to mental wellness. Maybe it’s by sharing a video, a coping skill in a newsletter, or diet tips for energy. Whatever encourages your people to live and be their best, promote it proudly. I love following John Tesh on Social Media because he is always offering tips and interesting statistics that are beneficial to living a happy and productive life. They are simple, yet potent.
While there is more we could dive into regarding mental wellness, I hope what I have shared encourages you in the right direction and encourages your efforts. Remember, it’s a process. Allow yourself to learn, grow, make changes, improve, but always make progress towards the goal.