Mental health at work
When it comes to well being, we talk a lot about physical health, but we don’t always include our brains in that conversation.
Unfortunately, the brain can get unwell like any other organ and we must take care of it like the rest of our body.
So how do we take care of our mental health? At TSG, we tie everything back to communication. Breakdowns occur the moment we stop communicating and some people go many years without communicating properly. No wonder we’re struggling.
Communication is a big part of our mental health. When people are truly communicating, they kindle a supportive dialogue where they can share and ask for help. This has many benefits. For one, communication has a curative effect wherein speaking honestly with others about your internal challenges takes a heavy load off your chest.
Putting your difficulties in words and just getting them out provides relief. You no longer have to carry the weight of the unspoken with you and you’re free to create something wonderful inside the resulting space.
It also gives others access to your world and helps them understand where you’re coming from. That way they have context for your actions and feelings which makes it easier for you to ask for help or understanding.
For example, your team leader is more likely to honour your request for time off or provide an accommodation when they have access to what you’re dealing with as opposed to when you hit them out of the blue.
Given these benefits, why are people so reluctant to open up? Often they are afraid of being judged. When it comes to the workplace, they don’t communicate because they are worried it will make them look bad, or become a blemish on their record.
Indeed, discussing mental health at work can be challenging because not all employers are receptive to these sensitive conversations. Others may simply not know how to deal with the issue and clam up, hoping it will go away.
Both approaches are unworkable in our view and such employers are not worth your time. Part of the solution then becomes finding the right workplace that will provide you with the support you need. At this point you must also be communicating with yourself to be able to recognize when you need to change things.
Fortunately, the times are changing and people are becoming more open about their mental health concerns. As long as we remember to communicate and ask for help, things will get better.
Are you communicating about your mental health needs at work?