Dealing with mental health at work can be a challenge, especially if the problems are being caused by work. But there is a way forward to find peace and enjoy work again.
Mental health benefits of working
Having a job can positively impact our mental health in a number of ways.
Work provides us with a regular routine, a reason to get up in a morning and a feeling of being useful.
The purpose in life we get from our work makes us feel like we matter and helps us stay positive in hard times.
Being surrounded by colleagues and customers means we:
- Have people to interact with
- Can build relationships
- Increase our own confidence
- Open our worldview
Getting to hear about other people’s experiences helps us feel optimistic about our own situations and the future ahead of us.
Our self-worth also increases when we have a job, and finding the right work opportunities means we are able to build skills and progress our careers or future job prospects.
Regular work also means regular pay, and having your own income can help alleviate stress, ward off debt, and provide independence.
Financial independence is especially important if you’ve experienced, or are experiencing domestic abuse, and can help you forge a way to freedom.
You might also have other perks from working, such as pension contributions or shop discounts.
Plus, working sets a great example to children, grandchildren and others around you.
When work impacts our mental health
Whilst work has many benefits, there are times when work becomes the source of stress or ill mental health.
Toxic cultures in the workplace, poor management, and negative colleagues can all affect how we feel, both at work and home, along with workloads that are unrealistically high or beyond our ability.
Or if you’re already experiencing mental health problems, coping at work can become increasingly difficult.
It’s important that employers have adequate health and safety policies – and that includes provision for supporting mental health at work.
Related article: Mental Health Stigma. Is It Still a Problem?
Getting support at work with mental health
If you are struggling with stress or mental health issues, it’s important to speak to a manager to see how you can be supported at work.
It doesn’t matter if your mental health problems are being caused by issues at work, something that’s happening at home, or any other reason. Your employer still has a duty to support you.
A plan can be put in place for support, with simple actions such as a reduced workload or altered hours temporarily. Giving you space to get back on track.
Where it is an issue in the workplace that is causing you stress or mental ill health, you should raise the issues with a line manager who you can trust to listen to your concerns.
If you belong to a union, you can discuss problems with your union rep to see how best to move forward, especially if the problems are affecting multiple people at work as the union are there to protect workers’ rights.
Getting professional support with mental health
Your employer might offer an Employee Assistance Programme. The details are usually given when you start work (or to existing staff if a new scheme is introduced by the company) and you should be able to use the service confidentially.
Employee Assistance Programmes often give access to counselling or other emotional support for a short while to help support you when you need it.
Counselling and other talking therapies can help you to voice your concerns, get validation about how you’re feeling and give you tools and strategies to interrupt thinking patterns and reframe unhelpful thoughts.
How I can help your mental health at work and beyond
Sometimes life can seem out of control, unbalanced, or hectic, and dealing with mental health issues at work can be difficult, especially if they persist for some time.
I provide ongoing psychotherapeutic counselling which is a holistic model of counselling where we focus together on you as a whole person – mind, body, and soul, to help bring you some peace.
The word Irinni is taken from the Greek word meaning peace.
My reason for using this name came about because clients I worked with said it was a peaceful experience.
Peace can be found in stillness and calm; I aim to work with you to reach some peace in your life so you can fully enjoy your work.
Contact me here to discuss your needs and see if counselling is right for you.