© 2022 Copyright Career Development Centre Pty Ltd - Mentally Well Workplaces
Many of us will be familiar with workplace mental health workshops and strategies that include anything from lunchtime yoga to corporate wellness activities.
These can be fun, open up the possibility of team bonding, and may boost morale, in the short-term at least. The fact remains, however, that these initiatives are ultimately ineffective and have limited success when it comes to improving psychological wellbeing outcomes for staff. Fortunately, more and more companies are recognising that these once-off initiatives are unlikely to result in lasting, sustainable change.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving mental ill-health in the workplace, and you really do need a strategy that meets the unique needs of your workers. This is where mental health workshops can be extremely effective. Not only do they promote an evidence-based understanding of mental health conditions and other mental ill-health related topics, but mental health workshops offer fully customisable training appropriate to your organisation. In addition, they keep the conversation around psychological wellbeing going long after the workshop is complete.
Here are three ways your workplace could be improved with mental health workshops:
Working against stigma
Mental ill-health can often seem like a taboo topic especially in the workplace. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. By partaking in mental health workshops, employers and employees can be encouraged to talk more openly about their psychological state and gain strategies that help break down the stigma.
Mental ill-health stigma in the workplace can have a big impact on employees. For one, a reluctance to open up or discuss psychological wellbeing at work means employees experiencing a mental health condition may be less likely to seek support. This means poorer health outcomes and an increased risk that the condition will worsen. Stigma around mental-ill health can also lead to:
Mental health conditions that go unaddressed as the result of stigma can hold back more than just the individual worker. In fact, the whole organisation is impacted.
Stigma in the workplace is most often the result of misunderstanding, fear or a lack of knowledge about conditions such as anxiety or depression. Mental health workshops can help address this stigma by normalising the conversation around mental ill-health and breaking down common misconceptions. Even if the workshop itself only lasts an hour or two, initiating the discussion and raising awareness means it is likely these conversations will continue.
When a person experiences a mental illness like anxiety, depression or stress, it’s easy for these feelings to become all-consuming. It becomes more difficult for people to focus on and cope with the demands of work, relationships or other daily tasks. Their usual productivity levels may decline, they may lose concentration and they may struggle to keep up with deadlines. Common mental illnesses are also associated with increased substance misuse, disrupted sleep and fatigue — all factors that can impact a person’s productivity. Clearly, this can have an impact on organisational performance goals and may cost businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity. More than that, though, it severely impacts the life of the employee who is experiencing the mental illness, as well as those around them who may not know how to offer support.
Because poor productivity is likely the result of a pre-existing mental illness that has already emerged or may be worsening, certain strategies are not going to cut it. A proactive approach is needed, something that can give employees the tools, knowledge and skills needed to manage their mental ill-health. Customised mental health workshops offer this proactive approach because they can promote the necessary awareness, provide specific training on proactively managing mental well-being and empower employees to seek the support they need.
Improving company culture
If the above reasons weren’t enough, mental health workshops can help to improve company culture in some really fundamental ways. Mental health workshops encourage workers to empathise with other team members, and can help co-workers recognise the common symptoms of mental illnesses and how best to approach a person experiencing a mental illness at work. In addition, when all members of the team feel they can be open, honest and authentic it improves psychological safety — the foundation of a healthy company culture.
Mental health workshops can also train leaders and managers to lead with more empathy and vulnerability, changing the company culture for the better.
Companies that once chose to give their workers cupcakes or yoga sessions are now recognising that access to evidence-based training, like mental health workshops, is going to bring better results. By introducing mental health workshops to your organisation, you’re showing employees that you take their psychological wellbeing seriously.