With all that has happened around the world over the past two years, the importance of mental health has finally come into the limelight. Facts and figures on mental health are worrying, with a growing number of individuals who have either endured or will endure a mental health issue during their lifetime. These individuals can be anyone - your colleague, your boss, sibling, parent or even you. Yet, the significance of managing one’s mental health, specifically in the context of the workplace, has only recently become a topic that many companies in Lebanon are taking note of.
Whilst COVID-19 disrupted every aspect of life as we know it, a silver lining did appear – mental health and corporate wellness started to be addressed. Mental health challenges were normalized and discussions around how to improve employee mental wellness started to surface. Today, there are many NGOs working in these sphere, and thanks to the efforts of the community, mental health is no longer considered a stigma.
One such NGO is Embrace, a Lebanese organization specialized in mental health and suicide prevention. Embrace recently launched an awareness campaign tackling the importance of mental health in the workplace. Based on the statistics shared by Embrace, 1 in 4 employees in the workplace will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their career.
Why is this statistic important? Because when mental health issues are not dealt with, they can have a huge impact on the individual and their surrounding environments. In the workplace, it can lead to a loss of motivation, changes in attitude and behavior, burnout and decreased productivity levels. These factors will have an impact on job performance and engagement levels and can lead to communication breakdowns.
How can companies address mental health in the workplace?
Long gone are the days when professionals were advised to leave all their problems at home when they got to the office, and vice versa. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option, as the ongoing crises in Lebanon seem to follow us everywhere we go. Concurrently, work-related stress is increasing, with so many factors out of our control.
Professionals are spending an increasing number of hours in the workplace or in front of the screen, more than they do in their own homes or in nature. With so much time dedicated to work, employees, whether physically or virtually present, need structures to support their mental wellbeing.
Companies can create and enhance corporate wellness structures by:
What can professionals do to manage their mental health?
Companies can create more supportive structures that enhance a culture of mental wellness. However, employees should also be empowered to take charge of their mental health and grow their awareness to manage their stress levels. Here are some tips and tools for professionals in every sector:
When our mental health is dampened, we cannot expect to function or have energy in any area of life. Prioritize your mental health and encourage your respective companies to do the same.