Mental Health and Work: Impact and Good Practices

Mental Health and Work: Impact and Good Practices

The following article was kindly written and contributed by Laura Garbers

There's a common misconception that a person's mental health determines their work capabilities. This belief is wrong as someone having mental health problems can still excel in their work with hard work, dedication, and the right environment.

Mental health does have a significant impact on work capabilities but this can be curtailed. Here's how employees and employers can manage them.

Impact of Mental Health on Work

  • Mental health issues can lead to disability

Individuals living with mental illness are prone to experiencing work disabilities, especially when this occurs early in their life. According to studies, mental disorders are one of the top leading causes of work disability. Individuals with these conditions are in danger of not being able to maximize their potentials. Mental illness can limit their growth and health, both of which could subsequently derail one's education.

  • The cost associated with excluding individuals with psychological illness affects society drastically

According to WHO, an estimated 25% of the world's population experiences one form of an adverse mental illness or the other. Excluding such a population from the workforce of the economy would have a drastic effect on the economy. Society loses a significant amount of human potential along with losses in productivity. Civilizations where necessary implementations to include disabled populace to the workforce, tend to suffer from high poverty levels.

  • Negative mental health can result in poor productivity if unchecked in a workplace 

If mental illness isn't curtailed it will have adverse effects on workplace productivity. Workers will often exhibit the following traits, lack of concentration, strained relationships, poor health, burnout, and more.

The Therapeutic Role of Working for Curtailing Mental illnesses

The presence of a work environment is vital to promoting psychological health while an absence of it can lead to a deterioration of one's mental health. It helps provide us with the following.

  • Sense of financial security
  • The social environment where we interact with colleagues and clients
  • Stability and organization in an individual's life
  • It serves as an element to identify one's self
  • It provides an avenue for a sense of accomplishment when they achieve their goals

How to Maintain Excellent Levels of Mental Health

Know Your Limits

Avoid overwhelming yourself with work. Work smartly and schedule your time to accommodate your objectives. Steer clear of procrastination as this is sure to leave you with more work than you can handle. Also, avoid environments that can be distracting while working.

Avoid Social Vices

Indulging in social vices such as keeping late nights, drinking, and smoking can have adverse effects on your mental health. These problems could extend to your physical well-being, so consider steering clear of them.

Rest and De-stress Regularly

Get regular sleep and rest. Avoid late hours and learn to manage your time. Anytime you feel stressed or burnt out; it's often your body's way of telling you to take a break from work. A well-rested mind can perform at maximum capacity. Consider taking the time out to see a movie, exercise, take a vacation, or any suitable de-stressing method of your choice.

Seek Psychological Assistance

Have a psychological evaluation regularly. It's best not to leave things to chance, a phobia, discomfort, or nausea could be a symptom of an underlying psychological disorder. Visit appropriate health care providers; money wouldn't be an issue as they are multiple methods you can employ to get a free evaluation.

How Employers Can Help Employees With Mental Health Issues

Create Awareness

The first step is to eliminate the myths about psychological illness. Having the wrong information is dangerous if left unchecked.

  • Mental illness means mental retardation
  • You can't recover from a Mental illness
  • Individuals with psychiatric disabilities can't handle stress
  • Individuals with a history of mental illness can't perform excellently at their jobs
  • Individuals with a history of psychological illness are prone to violence.

Have social groups come in to enlighten your work staff on mental illness. You can have them take lessons on the subject and learn how to help out or manage such conditions.

Have Periodical Screenings

Often, people with mental illness are oblivious to the situation. Consider having an in-house psychiatrist or ensuring your employees see one periodically. Early detection is important in the treatment of psychological illness as it's with any form of aliment.

Use Unorthodox Methods

Consider the approach of tech giants Google; the firm has an unwritten rule that employees are never too far away from a source of food. This approach helps maintains healthy mental well-being and increased productivity among its staff. We tend to become less alert and productive when we're hungry.

You can have your workers make comments and suggestions on how to improve their psychological health and subsequently their productivity.

Effective Workplace Program

Have a workplace program that meets the needs of individuals with mental illness. Consider easing returning staff back into the job.

Vocational Rehabilitation Programs

This is a support program for individuals with serious mental illness or psychiatric disabilities. This is exceptionally helpful to people who develop complications at a later stage of life. In such cases, their condition doesn't physically permit them to perform jobs that require the skill set previously acquired.

Having vocational rehabilitation programs means they can acquire a new set of skills for a job their condition permits.

Making Accommodations

Employers have to understand situations their employees have a hard time managing. They need to make reasonable accommodations to ensure high levels of productivity. If a worker such as a secretary has issues with speaking with strangers, he or she should be allowed to use a method of communication that makes them comfortable. For instance, having clients use written notes, emails, or calls.

Making Modifications

Physical Environments

The workplace environment should or be modified to cater to individuals with special needs. This includes installing room dividers for workers experiencing difficulties concentrating in open areas. Or making the building wheelchair accessible and having handicap parking spots,


Allow workers to adjust their work schedules to maximize hours of productivity. Individuals who can't drive or have problems with using the public transport system should be allowed to work from home if possible.

Final Thoughts

Society and employers need to understand and accept the relationship between mental health and work. They need to make provisions that ensure disabilities don't impair an individual's capabilities to work. The key is avoiding discrimination and making reasonable adjustments.

Author's Bio

Laura Garbers is a renowned and active freelance writer who offers her knowledge and expertise in writing to many writing brands including CraftResumes.

Laura comes from Gold Coast, Australia. She shows her love for animals by ensuring her weekend is occupied with lots of activities such as volunteering at animal shelters and birdwatching.

On her blog, Laura provides useful business tips to entrepreneurs. And when away from work, she spends most of her time reading science fiction books.

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