Mental health is a difficult subject, but one that’s extremely important, especially when it comes to working. Studies have shown that a negative work environment can have a major impact on employee mental health. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and even lost productivity. 

Some of the most commonly reported issues that cause mental health problems in the workplace include bullying and harassment. 

While we are in the 21st century, there are still companies that don’t give much thought to mental health issues, their causes, or the effects they can cause. 

Working in a company that doesn’t take mental health seriously can take a toll. This is one of the reasons that work/life balance is so important today. 

If you find yourself working in a negative work environment, it can be difficult to advocate for yourself. However, it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s essential to advocate for yourself if your mental health is at stake at work. It’s even worth requesting a mental health day from work. 

A mental health day can provide you with relief from stress caused by issues at work, as well as problems at home. The time away from work gives you the ability to deal with family issues, take some time to rest, seek treatment, and more. The key to requesting a mental health day is to clearly communicate the reason you need it. 

Because being your own mental health advocate at work can be hard, we’ve put together a list of ways you can take a stand for your own mental health and wellbeing. 

1). Create Awareness

Not everyone understands the concept of work/life balance. This may be true of your boss or manager. In that case, start talking with your manager about stress and stress management. Remember to include the importance of work/life balance and how it impacts you and your work, as well as your team. 

Be honest and let your manager know the issues you’re struggling with. It can help to have some solutions in mind, which can be discussed with your manager. 

Part of being an effective employee is being honest and providing solutions. When you come to your manager with solutions, they will take you more seriously. The solutions also make their job easier by not having to come up with the solutions themselves. What’s more, they don’t guess what solutions will be beneficial. This way, you have a better chance of being heard and working out a solution that works for you and your employer. 

2). Disclose Only as Much as You’re Comfortable With

Self-disclosure can be difficult, even if you know the topic of mental illness is more open these days. Attitudes to mental illness have changed drastically in recent years.

When it comes to disclosing details about your own mental health, only share those details you’re comfortable sharing. Don’t hesitate to be honest. Remember that being open with your boss provides them with a place where they can also feel free to share. They may share their own issue or struggles. You just never know. 

In this situation, try to put the emphasis on positives rather than negatives. This means to share details with others on what they can do that may help them with their issues. 

3). Discuss the Benefits of Improved Work/Life Balance for the Company

Chances are, if you’re struggling with mental health issues in a negative work environment, then others are also struggling. You’re not alone. Tackling the problem could help everyone, including the company. 

Some managers may find it difficult to discuss mental health issues related to work. This may be because they truly don’t understand mental health and its impact on work. They may also not feel comfortable discussing these issues if they suffer from mental health problems. Mangers may even fear they come across as hypocrites if they don’t have their own lives or jobs together. 

Again, we want to stress the necessity of being honest and open when talking about the business work environment. You’re not alone, and bringing this awareness to managers can lead to solutions. This is a way to help everyone in the office, not only yourself. 

4). Don’t Hesitate to Use Yourself as an Example

Even when concerned about others in the company, don’t hesitate to use your own situation as an example. Remember, you only need to share the details you’re comfortable sharing, too. 

When talking with your manager, it’s not necessary to fully disclose your mental health issues. Only share those details that you’re seeking support for at work. As you advocate for yourself, it’s possible your productivity may stay the same or even increase. This is because you’re dealing with the problem rather than doing nothing. Doing nothing leads to increased stress, negativity, and more. However, taking action can even work to improve your mental health symptoms. 

5). Educate Your Manager

Don’t be afraid to educate your manager about the benefits of improving the work environment. Using such methods as mindfulness activities have been shown to improve productivity, relieve stress and anxiety, and even improve work/life balance. 

Remember to come with solutions, too. This may mean researching information on methods to improve mental health at work, as well as statistics and evidence that these methods work. 

You may even request that everyone start participating in these methods together, such as walking, stretching, mindfulness exercises, and more. 

6). Use These Solutions as a Recruitment & Retainment Tool

For companies that are dealing with high employee turnover rates, it could be due to a negative work environment. For this reason, the development and implementation of a mental health wellness program could be a way to turn things around. A program of this type could work as a recruiting tool, as well as work to retain the company’s employees. 

Employees want to feel valued and work in a productive, positive environment. Rather than feeling like a mere machine, a mental health wellness program can help employees feel cared for and valued. 

All employees need to work in a positive, uplifting, caring environment. More companies are finding that providing employees with a mental health wellness program works. Not only do employees feel happier, their productivity increases. What’s more, their job satisfaction grows, too, when they feel valued and cared for. 

Written by the Team at Royal Quays Business Centre