1. Increase your mental health literacy levels - mental health issues can have a profoundly negative impact on people’s lives. While depression receives a huge amount of press, we need to be mindful that it is just one of a large number of mental health issues including anxiety, psychosis, drug and alcohol, autistic spectrum disorders - just to name a few.These can affect people, not just in terms of their own mental health, but in terms of their caring responsibilities for others outside the workplace. With the current high prevalence rates for mental health it is almost a given that someone in your workplace will have firsthand experience dealing with their own or others’ mental health concerns.
While you don’t need to become an amateur psychologist, it is important for you know how to initiative a conversation with someone in the workplace who might be in distress.
Important skills we all need include:
• Knowing who to speak to at work about dealing with your own or others emotional wellbeing concerns.
• Understanding the various roles and responsibilities in the workplace when it comes to things like work health and safety from a psychological perspective.
• Making reasonable adjustments to accommodate, maintain and support people in the workplace.
• Ensuring your organisation’s compliance with legislative requirements when it comes to mental health
Remember, good work is great for people’s mental health and just because someone might have a mental health concerns does not have to mean they are any less valuable or productive than others as a team member in your workplace.
2. Prioritise physical activity! The link between physical and psychological wellbeing is well established and it is now commonly accepted that exercise itself has antidepressant properties, helps you manage stress, improves sleep and can even improve brain functioning. Even better, exercise with a friend or workmate. That way you can get great social contact as well as your daily endorphin hit!
3. Find the positive! Decades of research has confirmed the health and wellbeing benefits of being realistically optimistic - an optimistic outlook allows you to spot opportunities in challenging situations, motivate you to take constructive action,feel in control and challenge problems before they become intractable. It also improves your resilience as well as positively influencing your immune system and overall mood. A wise man once said, “Your experience is determined by what you pay attention to”, so make it a point to pay attention to the positive and focus on things you can influence next time you are in a challenging situation - and challenge others to do the same!