Workplace Mental Wellbeing Matters
Many workplaces say their employees' mental wellbeing matters, but not all workplaces are built the same. Some promote mental wellness but don't deliver, whereas others do. With starting a new job, I feel for the first time like I'm someplace where my workplace actually cares about mental wellness.
Mental Wellness in the Workplace: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I'm soon to hit one month since my first day at my new job. From day one, and even before, I got the vibe that mental wellness is not only acknowledged but respected and seen as important. From the first interview (it was a multi-stage process), the conversation of mental health was on the table. Probably in particular because the blogging I do for HealthyPlace is on my resume.
Since that first interview, so many people have made a point of letting me know that mental wellness matters in this workplace and that it's okay to address any stresses or struggles. What's brilliant is it feels genuine. Maybe some will argue that one month isn't enough time to make that kind of judgment call or that I'll need to wait until my first mental health crisis to really see, but even the feeling of it being genuine is amazing. And that makes a difference for me.
I've worked jobs in the past where the workplace says they care about mental wellbeing, but when you bring up struggles, stresses, or concerns, they act exactly opposite. For instance, at my old workplace, management would promote things like Bell Let's Talk Day or say to let them know if your mental wellbeing wasn't great. But, when you did that, they'd dismiss it or do nothing to address stressors. In a double whammy of mental health stigma and sexism, those identifying as women would often be dismissed as dramatic or overreacting.
At my workplace before that, I'm quite certain I almost lost my job for taking mental health days after my cat died. ("Grief from the Loss of a Pet: Stigmatizing Grief Helps No One") I was thinking about this again recently because the anniversary of her death just passed at the end of September.
Addressing Mental Un-Wellness Is Better for Everyone
I'm hopeful my new workplace is true to its word when it comes to mental wellbeing mattering. I don't think enough employers realize that addressing whatever is causing mental un-wellness is, in the long run, better for everyone. I know I work better when I don't have stress or mentally difficult days as obstacles.
It likely comes down to mental health stigma still putting forth that people are being dramatic if they have concerns or that grief only looks a certain way. My hope is that more workplaces start realizing that truly addressing and fostering mental wellness is the best thing to do.
Barton, L. (2021, October 4). Workplace Mental Wellbeing Matters, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, December 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2021/10/workplace-mental-wellbeing-matters
Author: Laura A. Barton
Addressing mental wellbeing in the workplace is something that we are, thankfully, slowly but surely beginning to recognize and address. It is becoming increasingly apparent that mental health has gone too long ignored in the workplace, and everyone benefits when we finally begin to acknowledge it and take action toward promoting a healthy balance for everyone.
I think you're right. At the very least, this past year and a half should at least demonstrate to employers that mental wellbeing is something to be mindful of.