Nurse Self Care: Creating a positive mental health space at work
There's no escaping the fact that our jobs and our mental health are connected. Over half of workers state that their work impacts their mental health, and not usually a positive one.
People taking time off from work for mental health reasons is on the rise, yet the subject of mental health in the workplace is rarely spoken about and is often swept under the carpet.
In a post-pandemic world, this isn't good enough. The effects of the pandemic are still being realized, and the world must learn a valuable lesson in supporting others during their time of need.
Who is responsible for mental health in the workplace?
Within the workplace, it is the employer's responsibility to make sure they are looking after their employee's mental health. They need to make sure they are creating a decent, safe working environment and supporting staff when required to help prevent staff illness due to mental health.
That being said, the employee is ultimately responsible for their well-being and seeking help when needed.
Why is mental health important at work?
If employers care about their employee's mental health, they will want a workforce that can look after their physical, emotional, and mental health needs at home and work.
Employees should feel comfortable expressing their concerns about work-related stress, burnout, anxiety, and other work-related mental health struggles without fear of isolation or stigma.
Although some workplaces are moving forward with their understanding of mental health and its impacts, there is still a long way to go before most people feel comfortable discussing these issues with their bosses.
Ways to create a positive mental health workplace
Reduce the stigma- Make talking about mental health the norm. Discuss stress management and self-care techniques in meetings and have general check-ins with each other at work to show support.
Practice a healthy work/life balance- Set boundaries for yourself and try not to take work home. Make sure you take breaks and sit down to eat your lunch correctly. Enjoy time with your family without thinking about returning to work on Monday morning.
Some workplaces offer additional mental health services through apps or blocks of counselling sessions; take advantage of these services if you need to or suggest to your boss that a service like this may help improve staff well-being in your workplace.
Please talk with your boss about making mental health days acceptable and maybe offering a small number of days workers can take each year to look after their mental health.
The key is to keep talking.
If people don't openly talk about mental health, the stigma surrounding it will never change. It is everyone's responsibility to help be the change they want to see.
The power of talking can sometimes be hugely underestimated.
Talking could include:
● Discussing your own mental health and how you've overcome barriers
● How you can improve well-being at your workplace
● General chats with colleagues, finding out about their lives and how they are
How is mental health perceived at your workplace?
What could you do to help improve mental health at your workplace?
Do you feel able to take mental health days when you need them?