Statistics from the World Health Organization indicate that by the year 2020, depression will be the 2nd leading cause of disability worldwide. Mental problems and illness are among the common causes of workplace absenteeism. Having employees that are unable to work does not benefit anyone. However the majority of us do not know how to properly deal with various mental health issues including depression. Often our response (either going through it personally or addressing someone else that is), is that depression is something that you can simply snap out of, if you really wanted to.
To clarify, no one really knows what causes depression but they have identified a few factors that definitely contribute. One is genetics and another is brain chemistry. These are not imaginary and cannot be treated by simply wishing them away. You can’t “snap” out of cancer, so why do we think you can “snap” out of depression? Once you realize that depression is real, and a problem then you can move forward and begin to plan ahead. Our attitudes about mental health issues really determine how successful we are in overcoming them.
Clayton suggested 3 easy steps to ensure your work place is an environment that encourages mental health.
1. Have an Open Door Policy – Let people know that if they’re struggling you are willing to listen. Stating that upfront and reminding them often when there’s not a problem, makes it much easier to talk about when there is one. Sometimes all it takes is asking, “How can I help?”
2. Have Standard Procedures – If you have a structure for employees to follow when bringing their concerns forward it lends a sense of legitimacy and purpose in how your company deals with an out of the box situation. Perhaps when conducting employee reviews you dedicate a segment for mental health. If it’s standard for everyone, then it may not be as embarrassing or uncomfortable to bring up if something is wrong.
3. Have Resources Available – How does the old saying go? “It’s better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.” Obviously the majority of us are not qualified to address a mental health issue. However there are people, programs and websites that are. Once you open the dialogue for mental health make sure you can suggest some options to help. It’s important to know what they are and how to find them.
For example Mental Health Works is a great resource for mental health in the work place. Or you can always check out Depression Hurts for Friends and Family Members
For more information you can also go to Clayton’s website at: www.effectivesolutionscounselling.com or to the Airdrie Counselling Centre at: www.airdriecounsellingcenter.com
With our stressful, busy lives it’s never been more critical to take a moment and reflect on our own well-being and others’. Conversation is the first step to ensuring our success… Are you ready to start?