What Should HRs Know about Mental Health at the Workplace?

The HR team in any company has the responsibility to perform tasks that are important for the employees and the organisation. Now, in today’s day and age, when mental health issues are on the rise, the HR team should also be well-equipped with ways to cope and combat such issues efficiently and effectively. As the HR, it is important for them to consider the mental health issues that may persist in the workplace. Although they may not be equipped with the knowledge and expertise of a mental health expert or professional, they can still be well aware of the basics and the essentials of mental health, since mental health is one of the most pressing and complex issues in today’s day and age.

In that context, there are some important things that an HR should know. Any two mental health issues are not the same, just like how two people are not the same. Every issue is different in the way it develops and affects a person and hence, needs to be treated differently. The most common mental health issues are stress, anxiety and depression which could affect any employee at any stage in their life. The professionals should refrain from discriminating between employees with mental issues and those without it.

Treating such employees with respect and making sure they feel comfortable enough to share their problems is usually the HR’s biggest challenge.

It is important to build a comfortable environment in the workplace for employees to be able to share their struggles and find substantial solutions to it. Negative environment at workplace in the form of common issues such as harassment and bullying can impact mental health, thereby affecting the productivity of employees. Such behaviour should be condoned; instead making them feel comfortable and supported should be focused on.

Work-related risk factors

There are many work-related risk factors that can impact mental health such as unsuitable tasks for a person’s competencies, low levels of support, inflexible working hours, low control over one’s area of work, poor communication and many more. There are small ways that can help people suffering from mental health issues at the workplace, like understanding the root of the issue in the sufferer and making sure there are several group activities on the job, involving interaction with other employees. Building teamwork helps the employees feel like they are not alone and have the necessary support system with them. Giving financial aid to employees regarding mental or physical illness should also be considered.

Usually the responsibility of dealing with such issues falls with the HR department and they are responsible in helping the efficiency of the employees and to make them feel at ease for a better outcome. HR professionals must come up with positive solutions and tools to ensure a healthy workplace by avoiding risks to mental health. They can take the above mentioned steps to make sure everyone feels at home. Mental illness is a serious problem among our generation and effective steps need to be taken for the betterment of society. Stress, anxiety and depression could be caused by problems outside of the work environment too. HRs also have a responsibility to monitor this because their responsibility to your wellbeing doesn’t start and end in your place of employment.


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