October 31, 2019

Mental Health in the workplace

In light of Mental Health Awareness Day that took place few weeks ago, I will dedicate this month’s newsletter to discuss the importance of considering mental health in the workplace. I mean, we all get stressed with payments, work, the long car rides due to traffic, and most importantly deadlines. Here is the thing, stress is a topic tackled when we discuss mental health.

Mental health has shifted from being a taboo in our community to being a popular topic. According to an article published by HPN in 2011, 17% of the Lebanese population suffers from mental health problems. The charts have changed over the years and the number of people suffering from mental health problems have increased.

I guess it’s safe to note that either you or a fellow college could be facing mental health problems. Before you start panicking, I want to clarify that not feeling okay is completely normal. Surprise! This just means that you are human.

Let’s get to the part where I give you some advice.

There are a few things you can modify or do to support the wellbeing and mental health of your employees and colleagues.

Regular check-ins. It goes without saying. Just ask how. They are doing. Show them that you are ready to listen and help if there is anything they’d want to talk about. Steer away from the regular conversation started “Hi! How are you?” You’ll probably get an “I’m fine and you?” What you’d want to try to ask is “Hi! How have you been? Is life treating you well?” You will most likely get a more emotional and elaborate answer. From there, try to keep the conversation going.

Working hours are important for your employees. Enforcing those working hours will reduce your employees stress levels. This could be attained by limiting your employees to work in the workplace rather than taking work back home, and advocating them to only check their emails during office hours.

Deadlines are stressful on their own, what if they were merely attainable especially while working on your own. You can start by setting realistic deadlines as well as fairly dividing the work equally amongst team members of employees.

Training doesn’t always have to refer to your line of work employees could go through training or workshops that raise awareness regarding mental health. It is also helpful to keep your collogues and employees aware of possible help centers or professionals that might provide them with some help in times of trouble. Many NGO’s are more than happy to help with raising awareness, one NGO in Lebanon is Embrace Lebanon.

A healthy Lifestyle is important to maintain a good mental health. You can start by promoting nutritious meals and consistent exercise. Having fruits stored in your workplace will encourage your employees or colleagues to have healthy snacks. If you are in Lebanon, you’d also be helping farmers around the country by having apples placed around the work place. Two birds in one stone.

A good conclusion to this somehow overwhelming article is, just be there for your peers. Keep an eye out for unregular behaviors of drop in productivity. Sometime, all a person needs in someone to listen or just be there for them. How cool would it be if you are the person who makes someone’s day marginally better?




Jade N. Kfoury

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