Dealing With Mental Health Issues At Work

Dealing With Mental Health Issues At Work

If you have mental health issues, your performance in the workplace can suffer. Whether you have depression, anxiety, or any other issue, you need to find a way to cope with your mental health. Follow these tips and you may be able to overcome your mental health struggles and improve your performance at work.

How Does Mental Health Impact Your Work?

Unless you have depression or other mental health issues, you may not understand how mental health can impact your performance in the workplace. But being depressed isn't like being sad, and having anxiety isn't the same as being stressed. When you have mental health issues, you can't just make your feelings go away.

Oftentimes, mental health issues are debilitating. They keep you from enjoying things you love, or from performing at your best. And more people suffer from mental health issues than you might imagine. According to one study, about 20% of workers suffer from mental health problems.

Of all the people who have mental health issues, about 56% of them have seen it affect their workplace performance. Just over 50% of them saw it impact their relationship with coworkers, and half of them saw it have an influence on their quality of work. There's also the issue of missed work days. When people suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, they are much more likely to miss work.

How to Cope with It All

You can't just make your mental health struggles disappear. However, you can take healthy measures to improve your mental health. Here are a few ways in which you can combat your biggest mental health struggles:

Talk to a Professional

First, you should find a therapist. As much as you might want to handle your problems alone, you need outside assistance. A therapist is the right person to walk you through the steps you need to take. For some people, an in-depth look at their childhood is enough. But other people require medication.

One of the benefits in working with a therapist is being able to take advantage of your company's EAP. The EAP allows you to tackle your concerns in a professional environment. You might have anywhere from three to six free clinical sessions. During those sessions, a professional can give you short-term solutions and refer you to other mental health professionals.

Not all companies offer EAPs, but that doesn't mean you're on your own. There are many resources out there for you, if you know where to look.

Talk to HR

After you seek professional help, your HR department may be a great resource. People are often hesitant to discuss issues like depression with their employers, but starting the conversation can help. Instead of your employer firing you for missing too many days of work, they might work with you to find solutions.

Of course, this all depends on your company and your situation. If your company doesn't have an HR department, you should consider speaking with your employer. And, if you don't trust your HR department, you might be better off finding a new job. A good HR department will understand the need for you to take a mental health day once every few months.

If you worry that your issues are affecting your workplace performance, start a dialogue. Explain your situation and talk about ways in which you're trying to improve your performance. For example, you might feel too overwhelmed with the work. Talk to your employer and explain how you feel. They might be overloading you. You should never be afraid to ask for help.

Know Your Rights

Before you discuss your issues with HR, know your rights. You don't need to be too specific about your mental health issues. If you have severe anxiety, you don't necessarily need to disclose that. It should be enough for you to say that you have a medical issue.

Keep in mind that you may need to work with a therapist to provide proof of your issues. However, you don't need to have an in-depth discussion about it with your employer. There are protections in place to keep you safe from discrimination and from being interrogated about your mental health.

Take Measures to Cope with Your Issues

Throughout the workday, you should be taking measures to handle your mental health struggles. If you're not sure what you should be doing to improve your situation, talk to a therapist. They should be able to provide you with advice and coping techniques.

Here are a few examples of things you can do to help yourself during the workday:

Take short breaks, like going for a walk or calling a friend

Don't isolate yourself too much, unless you really need a break from people

Actively reach out to coworkers for help

Build your own support system

Have healthy sleeping and exercise habits

Make plans throughout the week

Find out what others use as coping mechanisms

For people with no mental health issues, the advice above isn't necessary. However, you may need a little extra support. Don't hesitate to make a plan and to use that plan to help you throughout the week. Whether you need a break every two hours or a fidget toy to keep you focused, you're entitled to the help.

Find a Better Workplace

If your employer isn't as supportive as you'd like them to be, it might be time to find a new job. In fact, your employer could be the reason for your mental health issues. If you have a toxic workplace or a boss who won't let you use coping mechanisms in the office, start looking for a new job.

There are plenty of employers who understand the prevalence of mental health issues. So, you don't need to struggle with a bad employer. It's time to dust off your resume and start looking for new work. As long as you still make your mental health a priority, you can excel in the workplace

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