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How to Address Mental Health in the Workplace?

In some bubbles mental health is an important topic whilst others still thing it doesn't belong in the workplace but is something that should only be addressed in private.

And whilst health is most certainly a private issue the boundaries between work, performance and health are not so clear any more. Our performance is impacted by our health and therefore every company should have an interest in healthy employees. Although it's still a thing people believe you can't separate the mind and the body. They're both intertwined and connected. It seems easy to help people address the physical health by offering yoga or other trainings but how to deal with mental health in the workplace?


These days people are overwhelmed by all the things that are happening in the world. Everything seems out of control and is adding to a person's feeling of being in a free fall.

What can you do to address mental health in a workplace is actually quite easy:

  1. Provide Clarity

  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

  3. Vulnerability

Providing Clarity:

Seems easy but reality shows it's not! People make assumptions and that's blocking clarity. Most people also don't take the time to really figure out what's the issue or the goal and then struggle to make sure everyone's on the same page. So everyone in your organization (and this goes for your private environment, too) should make clarity a priority. What's the goal - what's the issue - what are we trying to achieve or to solve? Has everyone the same understanding?


Communication is the Foundation of it all:

We have more access to information than ever before and yet are not able to use it wisely since we have issues communicating them in a clear manner or at all. Miscommunication seems to be the new normal these days. We tend to put everything in black or white boxes instead of trying to understand what's really going on. So if your goal is to address mental health in the workplace and if you went through point 1 already and therefore are aware what the goal or the problem is - you then should focus on communication.

How do you communicate to one another. In a respectful way should be clear but most seem to have a different understanding these days. So start by cultivating active listening, be present and try to read in between the lines. Most people don't know how to clearly say what they want. So instead of acting on the first thing they say - ask questions until you really understand what the underlying issue is. That can take time but in the long run it's worth it. A good framework can be the non-violent communication framework by Rosenberg. If you want to listen and communicate more effectively start using the non-violent communication style.


Vulnerability:

In combination with the first two points showing emotions at the workplace will help others, too. In the end addressing mental health in general requires a lot of bravery and won't be done within a day. We need different role models and an understanding that emotions belong to us like the sun in the sky. Admitting mistakes, showing that sometimes you simply don't know what to do next etc. is something we need to see more in the workplace. We're all human beings and need to understand that the challenges are so complex we need a more trial and error approach than perfection. So even though you have figured it out and are able to provide clarity to your team members and colleagues. Communicating and be vulnerable are making all the difference. Appreciate the people around you, talk to them and make an effort in creating human-centered relationships.


If you apply those three topics every single day, you're addressing mental health without paying for an expensive service. They are all free tools to use. In case you notice that it's not so easy to switch and apply those three things come and talk to us!

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