Mental Health Awareness Week 15-21 May 2023
During Mental Health Awareness Week, we have shed light on an issue that affects many individuals, including in the workplace: anxiety. In our fast-paced and demanding world of work, understanding and addressing anxiety is crucial for fostering a healthy and supportive work environment and providing support. So, let’s embark on a commitment to demystify anxiety and explore strategies to promote mental well-being in our professional lives.
Unravelling Anxiety: What is it?
Anxiety is a natural human response to stress or perceived threats. It’s important to recognise that anxiety is not a weakness or a flaw, but rather a normal reaction to certain situations. However, when anxiety becomes persistent, overwhelming, and interferes with daily functioning, it may require attention, someone, to listen, give support and encouragement to seek appropriate professional help. Within HR, we often have a wealth of strategies to support individuals and organisations, such as access to high-quality Occupational health support, mental health first aiders, counselling, signposting for self-care and crisis information etc.
Anxiety in the Workplace: Recognising the Signs
Anxiety can manifest differently in each person, we are all individuals, with different levels of resilience, but some common signs to watch out for in the workplace include:
- Excessive worry or fear about work-related tasks or outcomes.
- Restlessness, irritability, or difficulty concentrating.
- Physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue.
- Avoidance of work-related situations or tasks.
- Changes in work performance or productivity.
- Increased absenteeism or presenteeism (being physically present but not fully engaged).
Creating an environment and a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns is crucial in identifying anxiety-related challenges and providing appropriate support. HR can assist with this.
Breaking the Stigma: Fostering Open Dialogue
It’s time to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage open conversations. Employers, leaders and managers play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of support and understanding. Here are some key steps to take:
- Promote awareness: Share information about anxiety and mental health resources with your team during Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Educate and train: Offer training sessions to help employees and managers recognise the signs of anxiety and provide guidance on how to offer support.
- Encourage self-care: Advocate for self-care practices such as taking breaks, practising mindfulness, and maintaining work-life balance.
- Create a supportive environment: Foster an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns without fear of judgment or repercussions.
- Offer resources: Provide access to mental health resources such as counselling services, occupational health or effective employee assistance programs (EAPs).
Together, We Can Make a Difference!
During Mental Health Awareness Week, let us unite in our commitment to understanding more about anxiety in the workplace.