Within 7 days at any given time about 1/2 million employees in Canada call in sick due to mental health. Issues run from anxiety, depression to simple burn out due to high demands on the job. Many employees dealing with mental health often are present in the workforce but not fully present in their job performance, that increases the stress onto them especially when other employees and employers are not aware of the mental health deterioration and ignorance come into play by stating to the employee that they either, not performing their duties, threats of demotion, threats of layoffs. A vicious cycle that has a high risk of increasing mental health deterioration in the workplace.
Many organizations and agencies have brought forth the conversation of mental health, yet some even most are often a quick fix to ensure that employees remain to do the job without organizations paying out for sick leave. In the Mental Health Profession we often say that not one size fits all, so why are we allowing organizations to advertise Mental Health this way to their employees?! For example promoting yoga as a mental health wellness to all employees may temporarily assist to their own mental health but not all would fit into this category. An individualized approach is a far better way to deal with mental health in the workplace and a far better outcome than a band-aid affect. For instance, no two employees would recover the same way from a mental health trauma. Everyone heals differently.
So how do we approach individualized Mental Health assistance in the Workplace? It is simple. Like any physical injury, we ensure the employee that they will receive help where it seems fit to their needs without judgement, or alterations of their job description. According to Mental Health Commission of Canada, states that about 30 percent of short term and long term disability claims are based on mental health issues and illnesses. With an individualized approach an employee may feel like they are being heard instead of giving them a corporate plan of what they need to do to better their mental health with risking their job. Non-judgement is essential in mental health in the workplace, it is only then we can help our employees feel safe to speak about their own mental health crisis. THIS IS HOW WE HEAL!!
Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah will be participating in a number of Events in September.
September 9th, 2017 – Speaking and Supporting Local FireFighters with First Responders Family Resiliency Support Group Ottawa
September 22nd, 2017– On Air with Local Cogeco Tv, discussing Mental Health and Diversity.
September 28th, 2017 – Speaking to Ottawa and Area Provincial Probation Officers, and Federal Parole Officers, regarding Mental Health in the Workplace, and Trauma.
Stigma is one of the biggest reasons why mental health is not being addressed efficiently in the workplace especially when employees feel inadequate in their job or feel they would be warned for not doing what they were told based on timeline workload. There is an overall consensus that if an employee divulges their deterioration of mental health that it would increase tension for them at work, therefore keeping quiet or increasing their sick days would omit the discussion of talking about it with their employers. According to New York Times about 25 percent of employees receive negative responses for their problems including being bullied and the reason why they aren’t being promoted by their employer. Yet, employers advertise to the public that they have compassion and empathy for their employee’s well being. A definite mix message to any employee who is struggling with their own mental health. Power and Control in the Workplace is a traditional tactic to produce sales from their employees without the burden of losses due to a number of workers off the job.
Even today when mental health is on the forefront of corporate discussions, employees still feel they cannot speak of their own mental health breakdowns. Companies have brought in more wellness and mindfulness techniques for their employees . Business wellness is an 8 billion dollar industry, yet the simplicity of just asking an employee how they are doing has become fragmented by business stocks and status. According to World Health Organization (WHO) by 2020 they estimate that depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Many companies end up failing to address the root of their employees mental health breakdown and bandaid by introducing more wellness into the company.
Empathetic and Compassionate Employers are ESSENTIAL! Your compassionate care for mental health must be treated like any physical injury at work, respond immediately, provide care immediately, and ask how it happened!