Mental health in the workplace

World Mental Health Day is held on 10th October every year.

HR professionals have a significant part to play in helping to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace. It all starts with understanding what mental wellbeing means and how, if we don’t take care of it, our mental health can deteriorate leading to long term issues that affect our daily lives.

‘Mental wellbeing means feeling good about yourself and the world around you and being able to get on with life in the way you want’


If we are unaware of deteriorating mental wellbeing in ourselves and others, diagnosable mental health illnesses can develop. Left unchecked these can eventually become so severe that they may be considered disabilities. Mental health illnesses include conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress and much more.

Poor mental wellbeing can manifest itself in different ways in different people. Here are a few signs to look out for in the workplace:

  • making more mistakes than usual
  • working long hours or not taking annual leave
  • not joining in with social activities such as lunch time meet ups (actual or virtual)
  • becoming intolerant of others
  • not being able to make decisions
  • being negative about work
  • a deterioration in the quality of work
  • reacting negatively in team meetings

There are many more indicators of deteriorating mental wellbeing. The main thing that they all have in common is that they reflect a change in behaviour. So, for example, if someone who has always been introvert and avoids large social gatherings at the best of times says they don’t want to join in with a lunch time gathering, it would be unsurprising. On the other hand, if someone who is usually meticulous in their work starts making frequent mistakes it may be an indicator that something is wrong.

During this year of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have a raised level of anxiety. So my motto for now and the future is always be kind, aware and considerate to yourself and to the people around you. We never know what is going on in someone else’s mind.

Mental health in the workplace HR professionals are uniquely placed to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental wellbeing at work
Mental health in the workplace

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