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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Sheen

A "mentally healthy" workplace

It is no secret that our mental health can have a major impact on every aspect of our lives. From the way we think and feel, to the choices we make – our mental state is always influencing others. One of the most influential areas in our lives is work, and whether we realise it or not, the workplace has a direct impact on our mental health.

Sure, the workplace can be a source of stress. However, it can also be a source of support and camaraderie. With the right approach, the workplace can be a positive environment for mental health. At is best, the workplace can provide challenging and interesting work, supportive colleagues, and a sense of accomplishment.

High five if you are fortunate to work for a company that has invested in an Employee Wellness Programme. And an even bigger high five if it prioritises mental health as a part of the programme. It is not up to the employer alone to advocate for a “mentally healthy workplace.”

As individuals, we have the power to influence our environment. Just as we can adjust lighting, incorporate plants, and declutter our home offices; we have a role to play in creating a workplace which encourages mental health wellness.

1. Our role in reducing stigma

There is still a lot of stigmas surrounding mental health. We can play an active role in reducing that stigma by educating ourselves and understanding the facts surrounding various kinds of mental health illness. It is important that we are informed and lead by example.

2. Encouraging open conversations

The more we discuss mental health and its challenges, the more it will become accepted. I encourage you to find opportunities to facilitate more open conversations. Share your own experiences and invite colleagues to share their own. Better still, find a way to build these kinds of conversations into the company culture. This could be a formal addition to company meetings, or encouraging deeper, more authentic sharing between colleagues at work.

3. Daily mental health activities

Make space for mental health activities within the company’s daily practices. This does not have to be part of a formal corporate wellness programme. It can be as simple as sharing positive affirmations within the team or scheduling social activities between different teams. Exercise is fantastic for mental health!

Encourage your colleagues to pause. The 8-hour workday should include opportunities for rest and relaxation. It is amazing how energised one feels after laughing aloud. Of course, taking a brief time-out improves focus and productivity.

The place you spend lots of your time in can have a significant impact on your wellbeing, both physically and mentally. What you see, hear, breath and smell can impact your mood, stress levels, and determine how comfortable, relaxed, and safe you feel.

As adults, we spend most of our time at work. It makes sense to carry the load and take ownership in creating an inviting workplace that is open and supportive when it comes to mental health.

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