Understanding Mental Wellness in the Workplace

Understanding Mental Wellness in the Workplace

Mental wellness and mental health sound alike but are in fact two distinct concepts. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they differ in their meaning and implications.

Mental health refers to a state of mental health or the absence of a mental disorder. On the other hand, mental wellness encompasses various aspects of emotional and psychological well-being, including self-awareness, personal growth, resilience, spiritual health, and fulfillment.

While both are important, lets explore their differences and how employers can promote an environment for employees to thrive.

Understanding Mental Health and Mental Wellness

Mental health is a critical aspect of overall health and well-being. Mental health reflects an individual's ability to cope with emotional and psychological stressors and to engage with life positively. Mental health includes conditions like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and its diagnosis requires clinical assessment.

Nearly 15% of the world’s population suffers from a diagnosed mental or substance use disorder, but that does not mean that the other 85% of the population is “mentally well” or leading healthy, happy, productive, and satisfied lives.

Mental wellness, on the other hand, is an internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect, and function; it is an active process that helps us to build resilience, grow, and flourish (Source). Mental wellness is an active and intentional process that leads to resilience, personal growth, and thriving.

Why Mental Wellness Matters at Work

Mental wellness plays a critical role in the workplace. When employees are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically well, they are more productive, motivated, and engaged in their work. However, when workers are languishing or experiencing burnout, their performance suffers, leading to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased healthcare costs. Mental wellness is especially critical in high-stress and demanding work environments, where employees may face stressors like long working hours, deadlines, and interpersonal conflicts.

Strategies to Promote Mental Wellness in the Workplace

Employers can play a crucial role in promoting mental wellness in their organizations. Some strategies include creating a human-first work environment, offering counseling and mental health services, promoting work-life integration, and providing access to proactive wellness services that enable employee thriving. Employers can also take measures to reduce job-related stressors, such as ensuring manageable workloads, facilitating conflict resolution, and providing resources for employee development.

The Role of Leadership in Nurturing Mental Wellness

Leadership plays a vital role in promoting mental wellness. Managers and supervisors can build trust, foster open communication, and create a culture of respect in the workplace by being appropriately vulnerable, transparent, and empathetic to the human journey. Leaders can encourage and model work-life integration, support employee growth and development, and recognize and address signs of mental distress among team members. Additionally, leaders can promote mental wellness by ensuring that their organizations provide accessible and high-quality proactive mental wellness services.

Measuring the Impact of Workplace Mental Wellness Programs

Employers can measure the impact of their mental wellness programs by evaluating employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, and monitoring absenteeism, employee turnover, and healthcare use. Employers can also gather feedback from employees on the effectiveness and impact of mental wellness programs and adjust them as needed to ensure optimal results.

Mental wellness is an essential component of overall health and well-being. By nurturing workplace mental wellness, employers can enhance employee wellbeing, reduce healthcare costs, and improve organizational performance.

Employees are disengaged and exhausted, and the problem isn’t going away. To attract, retain, and engage talent, you need to recognize them as more than a worker—but as a whole human. Forte is the mental wellness platform that connects your employees with unlimited access to certified well-being Guides. Our platform helps your employees turn down the noise and distractions of life so they can focus on their inner strengths and be their best selves.

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