Most people are aware that mental health problems are prevalent in society. This particularly extends to the workplace. According to Thriving at Work, a government study from 2017, 300,000 people a year lose their job due to poor mental health. The authors, Paul Farmer and Dennis Stevenson, were also shocked to find that the number of people stopping work from mental health problems was 50% higher than people with physical ailments.
In light of this, there are a number of things you can do to improve your mental health in the workplace:
- Go for a walk on your lunch break. Countless studies allude to the benefits of exercise on mental well-being. Use your hour to leave the office and fully break from work.
- Take action at an early stage. The Health Executive recommends that the sooner you report a problem, the better. It can stop the situation getting worse.
- Ask for help. Talk to your manager or HR about counselling opportunities that your company may provide.
- Create boundaries between work and home. MIND recommends that if you need to bring work home, you should assign a separate area for it. This will make it much easier to switch off from work.
- Know your rights. If you experience discrimination in the workplace, you should know what your rights are and what help you can get. MIND has a list of bodies you can consult, including Civil Legal Advice (CLA), and The Employment Tribunal.
- Connect with people. Talk to trusted work colleagues about your issues, or arrange to meet up for lunch. As social animals, humans thrive on interaction and connection.
Charities such as MIND and the Samaritans have a wealth of resources that you can use, including support. You should also contact your GP if you are struggling.