We all have mental health issues just the same as we all have physical health issues. Sometimes, just as with our physical health, we can become mentally unwell. The biggest issue here is this sadly, unlike much of our physical health, mental unwellness is often invisible.
Suffering from mental health issues in the workplace can often be even more stressful because you might be worried that people will think you’re lazy or your boss won’t believe you, so here are a few helpful hints on how to deal with mental ill health at work.
Be honest and open
It’s likely that your boss will have noticed a change in your behavior, perhaps you are irritable, withdrawn and not performing as well as you used to. Although it can be hard, try having an honest conversation with your manager.
Have regular catchups (with your employer) and checkups (with your doctor)
Although your manager’s responsibility to arrange regular catch ups with you, if they aren’t doing that then make sure you ask. You need to let people know how you’re doing and how you’re coping. If you’ve got too much work to manage or need to work different hours due to external factors then keeping them in the loop is imperative.
It is also helpful to see your doctor or psychiatrist.
Review your workload
If you are not able to function and complete tasks to the same standard as before, you need to be realistic about what you can achieve. Evaluate if you need to change your working hours or work patterns or to find a place to take a mental health break.
Keep a paper trail
A ‘wellness and recovery plan‘ is an excellent way to outline triggers, warning signs and information on what will keep you well – which helps if signs of emotional issues are brewing so line managers can proactively put things in place to stop the situation from escalating. This paper trail can be valuable evidence of what you have been going through and the support that has been provided should this be required at a later stage.
Don’t expect to be cured immediately
Not to be negative, but you need to be realistic about your health and take care of yourself. Mental health issues can flare up and seem difficult in the moment, but they are often not on-going, instead of episodes where people need support before they fully recover and gain their equilibrium again.
Mental health awareness has been a hot topic in the past year, and it will continue to grow as more people speak about what they are going through, and more companies take note. More and more organizations are putting their staff on Mental Health First Aid Course, or there are options to study a masters in mental health counseling online. Thanks to these developments the stigma is decreasing, and more people are accepting that this is a common health issue that most of us will face at some point in our lives. As overwhelming as it feels to be the one to start the conversation in your workplace, it could help so many of your colleagues if you do.