Mental Health Awareness Day was October 10th. Since mental health in the workplace was this year’s theme, talking about mental health and the stigma around it remains an essential topic Because the mental health stigma interferes with employment opportunities, we need to do something about it. But how can we make the necessary changes?
Recognize It: For starters, company leaders can acknowledge mental health as a genuine issue to address in the workplace. How can do they this?
Provide Training: Upper management can begin by creating policies that help an employee get back into their typical workflow after being away treatment of their mental illness, or train managers to understand and empathize with employees. Fostering an atmosphere of overall well-being where work life can be balanced with the symptoms of their condition is vital. Establishing wellness programs to encourage employees to seek treatment is another important step that business leaders can undertake.
Understand Anti-Discrimination Laws: Anti-discrimination laws could influence the way companies design and follow their employment protocols. Mental health and needing treatment shouldn’t affect an employee’s status, and these rules need to be a part of the office environment. As part of this, the company needs to obey those same laws.
Observe the Laws: Under the terms of these anti-discrimination laws, companies are not allowed to discriminate against any potentially-qualified candidate based on their mental health. These laws are supposed to protect new hires, and existing employees alike.
Avoid Casual Stigmatization: The mental health stigma is so prevalent in society that we might not even be consciously aware of it. It’s crucial that as individuals we don’t use casually stigmatizing language, such as calling someone “crazy” due to their condition, using their illness to define them as a person, or using it as an excuse to blame them for something they can’t control.
Be Open to Understanding: Another way individuals can help reduce the workplace stigma around mental health is to just be empathetic and open to understanding. Always be receptive to learning new things, and spreading awareness as you go.Talk about mental health issues whenever you can, and even if you don’t understand how their condition might affect a co-worker’s life, do your best to support them. Mentally ill or not, they are still a person worthy of respect, appreciation, and encouragement.
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