One of the greatest enemies of man is mental illness. It has a huge impact on how we feel, think, and act. Believers must break the view that depression and other associated conditions are only to be addressed privately and in the dark. However, other groups, particularly business leaders who are faced with simple and complicated challenges every day of their lives, understand and consider mental health as a concern that should be shared by everyone.
World Mental Health Day, which is celebrated yearly, has successfully built public awareness and education ever since it started in 1992. It has helped in slowly reducing the stigma on mental health problems and issues. However, there is still so much we need to do to alleviate these problems. These include:
- One out of five American adults are diagnosed with mental disorder yearly, and only about 40% receive treatment.
- Mental illness is among the leading causes of disability for Americans aged between 15 and 44.
- Mental health is one of the main causes of absenteeism.
- Over $1 trillion loss in productivity can be attributed to mental illness, and more than 300 million of these individuals are those with depression.
Since the workplace is one of the most common environments where depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are seen, business leaders must remember these elements to promote mental health and build overall better health for their organizations.
A huge study on team performance that lasted for two years found that mental safety was an essential factor in establishing effective and unified teams. Mental safety meant that team members feel secure to take risks and challenges and be vulnerable in front of each other. As it is, vulnerability is not a quality that stands out, but taking risks is, and to be able to do that, one allows himself to be vulnerable.
In almost all jobs, teams are required to share and collaborate on ideas, which is risky. Only teams that are built on trust can benefit from the free flow of fresh ideas, where employees and even their bosses share what they think to attain the best outcome. Therefore, investing in trust produces higher performance and enhanced mental health.
Most employees who are experiencing mental health problems at work would say that they feel a sense of powerlessness and a loss of control. It is a fact that when we are mentally and emotionally healthy, we are in control of ourselves – our destiny, our decisions – and that is what business leaders should strive for their employees to feel. When they have a sense of autonomy, they feel good about having the freedom to decide for themselves granting there are specific limitations to this freedom. When the workplace encourages autonomy, employees are engaged, committed, and productive. Effective leadership fosters a culture of autonomy.
Work and life aspects must not compete but should complement one another. Ideally, employees should show the same level of eagerness, commitment, and energy in all aspects of their life. To make this possible, business leaders should support their employees and provide them with flexible work policies for them to be able to deal with all areas of their life happily and successfully. This will also lead to them feeling freer and capable of meeting their professional as well as personal needs with less pressure.
For some, flexibility can just mean the liberty to work flexible hours. For others, it can be the freedom to work from home on some days. Whichever it may be as an employee, the vital part is that leaders comprehend and accept that sometimes it doesn’t matter when or where the work is done, as long as it’s done – and it’s done well.
Having a strong spirit and tough skin is probably one of the most important qualities that a person must possess. It is one’s capacity to not only thrive despite the difficulties from life and work but to come out a better and stronger individual as well.
This element is visible in organizations and companies that invest in the health and welfare of their employees. It is crucial that executives find ways to uncover the needs and goals of their employees and customize an effective strategy that works for the whole organization. Some of the best methods that have shown to achieve this include resilience training, coaching, and stress management workshops. Undeniably, a sound body and mind are more resilient and slow to break amidst stress and frustration.
Indeed, an individual’s mental health shapes how he makes decisions and how he can relate to the people around him. A strong organization that possesses the qualities mentioned above will surely thrive, survive, and emerge successful and productive.