October 10th, marks World Mental Health Day. What better time to remind ourselves how much mental health matters in a health and safety context?
There are various steps you can take to make your workplace an example of both good safety and good health practices. Mental health is an undeniable part of a functional safety framework. There are two steps to achieving positive mental health on the job: creating an environment of positive practices and open feedback, preventing or addressing conditions or behavior that negatively impacts mental health.
Today more than ever, our definition of mental health is incredibly comprehensive–as it should be. Often we forget that signs of a poor environment are not always self-evident. For instance, bullying can be so subtle that you may be doing it without even realizing it. Things that are not glaringly obvious can still contribute immensely to creating a stressful and toxic environment, which greatly undermines efforts to achieve safety and compliance.
Workplaces with good mental health records rank much higher in productivity terms. Every dollar invested in mental health programs has more than a double return on investment. Prioritizing mental health results in less absenteeism, fewer compensation claims, increased safety, better resources for employees and less stigma overall.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that while pointing out bad behaviours is simple enough, improving workplace mental health is no easy task. The work is rarely black and white, and requires committed leadership and creativity. Sometimes the most unlikely approach can end up providing stunning results — like how these Louisiana oil rig workers reduced their workplace accident rate just by opening up about their feelings.
One method that Safe Work recommends improving workplace PSC is reducing or eliminating the pressures of a high-stakes work environment. In their words: “changing work conditions that predispose bullying such as high demand, high pressure, high competition, and low control/power situations in the workplace.” However you choose to improve mental health at your workplace, we’re glad you’re prioritizing it!
When thinking about workplace health and safety, what usually comes to mind are things like heavy machinery or complicated security protocols. Most people’s thoughts don’t immediately jump to mental health. Back in June 2016, we made the case for why business managers should prioritize a more holistic approach to health and safety, and the advantages from both a wellness and a financial standpoint.
Of course, you get it–but what if you don’t know where to start? Resources like Heads Up offer a wealth of information and training on how to sustain a mentally healthy workplace.
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And as always, keep safe out there.
By Donesafe at Donesafe.com