Dr Malini Saba is a self-made businesswoman and the founder and chairman of Anannke Foundation. Dr Saba is an ardent philanthropist, psychologist, single Mother, fitness enthusiast, author, passionate culinarian, human and social rights activist and a global advocate for women and girls. She has helped millions of underserved women and children in South and Southeast Asia, South America, Africa and the U.S. to gain access to life-saving medical, educational services and achieve economic stability. Dr Saba is an advocate for the marginalized & with an aim to help ‘one billion’ people she launched ‘Anannke Foundation’ to serve as the umbrella organization for all of her philanthropic efforts and activities which focuses on healthcare, education and human rights. The organisation regularly arranges global food drives, funds scholarships, builds schools, provides education, healthcare facilities etc.
Mental health is no more just a fancy word, used in meetings and seminars, but a real-time global issue that is affecting more than half the global population. More than 3 out of 5 adults are affected by certain forms of mental issues, anxiety and depression, leading the cause. One of the most widespread causes for this mental malady is a person’s professional life.
How can workplaces be more aware about mental health? Why is workplace mental health more than an employee perk? Let’s take a look.
What is mental health?
Mental health is often confused with situational gratification or disappointment which is fleeting and not to mention, momentary. Mental health dives deeper, it is an ingrained state of mind which affects the person’s day-to-day life, their productivity and ability to manage triggers in the form of external stimuli.
Mental health is an important pillar of the overall well-being without which, physical well-being and emotional stability cannot alone help a person achieve holistic growth.
It is important to note that mental health is not just the absence of mental health.
Why should workplaces consider mental health a top priority?
Mental health of the employees affects an organization’s ability to produce results. These mental issues might have been prior to the employee joining the organization but workplaces often end up triggering the affected person which might impact their overall well-being.
An employee with psychological issues are more likely to do the following:
- Impact the work quality.
- Might be cost and resource intensive.
- May affect the workplace environment.
- Result in low engagement
- Lapse in physical capability and daily functioning.
- Poor decision making.
- Lack of communication
Impact on work quality: High performance is directly proportional to a robust mental health and emotional well-being. Someone with persistent causes is unlikely to perform well and might find it challenging to foster resilience as well as invoke creativity. Lack of innovation, creativity and resilience at work can directly lead to poor performance and work quality.
Poor decision making: Lack of mental strength leads to lack in restraining our minds against unhealthy decisions and habits. Someone bearing the brunt of mental issues is more likely to be more impulsive, or worse, apathetic. They would miss deadlines, meetings and other vital milestones that can cost the organization dearly.
Cost and resource intensive: When an employee is unable to focus and perform, they are more likely to expend time and money with no results. If an employee is grappling with mental dilemmas, immediate help can lead them to the right path and gain organization and a hardworking and bright team member.
Impact on the workplace environment: Unfortunately, the employee affected my mental maladies may affect the overall workplace environment. In such situations, team members and organizations can seek professional help and aid the affected person by boosting their morale and support them as they battle mental health.
Low engagement: Anxiety, depression or ADHD are some of the most common mental disorders that affect the brain’s cognitive abilities to retain and perform. This results in low engagement, disinterest and the willingness to abandon the task at hand.
Lapse in physical capability and daily functioning: A negative impact on the brain’s cognitive health can slow down their ability to perform the simplest actions that reduce their capability and sometimes, their will, to perform their daily tasks. It drains out their ability to be active, both physically and emotionally- which as a result, compromise their daily lives.
Poor communication: When someone is emotionally and mental unwell, it is hard to form ideas and communicate with people around. Poor mental health can lead to emotional outbursts, aggression or plain disrespect among colleagues. A streamlined communication is often negated because the mind is unable to comprehend a proper solution to the existing problem.
How to promote mental health at the workplace?
Promoting mental health and well-being at the workplace requires a creative and proactive approach that is comprehensible for the employees. Well-charted plans can help employees rise above their problems and allow them to grow.
Here are a few ways that organizations can promote mental health at workplaces.
Understanding mental health
Mental health or lack thereof is not a taboo and the best way to abolish the hearsay is by understanding it. Business leaders and employers need to understand the concept and offer resources to help employees clear their misconceptions.
By offering clinical services or having on-site counselors can help employees suffering from mental illnesses get expert opinions and judgement free solutions to help them overcome their problems. Employees can be offered mental support to help them manage stress or be more resilient in their day-to-day lives.
Employee assistance program
Employee assistance program is a work-based program that has been specially designed to help employees overcome their professional as well as personal challenges that may be impacting their job performance and engagement levels.
Flexibility in timings and space can help employees not feel the pressure to work at all times. These gaps can help them breathe and take a break if they feel too overwhelmed. This way, they can negate stress and anxiety, which are much too common a build up as a result of pressure.
Health insurance with mental health benefits
Today, many insurance providers are including mental illnesses in their policies. Organizations can ensure that their corporate policies empower their employees to seek solutions for their mental issues without worrying about the financial constraints.
Mental health is no more a fancy word to be tossed around in discussions but a real time problem. Companies with the right policies can ensure mental health at the workplace for their employees.