Mental health in the workplace is a very broad subject for HR managers and executives to consider. It can range anywhere from being overworked, to having a severe IDD (Intellectual or Developmental Disability). In the workplace, the degree of severity can no longer play a part as a yardstick to measure if the person needs a day off. As a compassionate leaders and culture-builders, it’s important to be cognizant of the different invisible illnesses others may be going through.
In 2021, surveys showed that one in four Canadians showed signs of depression. Depression can have symptoms akin to overeating, loss of interest in activities, fatigue, irritable behaviour, feelings of emptiness, and suicidal thoughts. Managers can listen for employees constantly complaining of being tired, burnt out, or a lasting downturn of mood and drive.
Thankfully, once diagnosed, it’s fairly treatable. Though it takes a lot of participation from co-workers and loved ones to help the person keep engaged and working towards better days.
Anxiety is often paired with depression. It’s the unending or overwhelming feeling of dread, fear, guilt or uneasiness. People can feel this from time to time as it’s often a side effect of stress. For someone with an anxiety disorder however, it rarely goes away. It usually is constantly floating just below the surface. No matter the situation they are in. Managers and HR professionals can support employees with Anxiety disorders by keeping things well defined and clear – well defined job descriptions, expectations, work plans / project plans and priorities can go a long way to reducing unnecessary anxiety at work. Panic Disorder is a subset of anxiety. It causes panic attacks, feelings of terror when there’s no danger, and feelings of loss of control.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
More and more awareness for OCD has come into light thanks to social media. People post videos documenting their “rituals” and intrusive thoughts that happen constantly throughout their day. It’s not a need to be clean or tidy in all cases.
Stress is a common reason why people ask for mental health days. Though it is not classified as a mental disorder. Stress has comparatively lighter symptoms to the rest of the disorders mentioned before. Though it can have long lasting effects. Stress manifests as chest aches, exhaustion, high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle tension or jaw clenching, and feeling like your heart is racing. All of these, if left unchecked can leave lasting issues with your body. Weakened heart muscles, ground teeth, eating disorders, and many others. Managers should listen for employees constantly stating that they are ‘crazy busy’.