Navigating the Silent Struggle: Fostering a Positive Mental Health Environment at the Workplace
By Uzma Gilani, Trainee Lecturer in Health and Social Care Management, FSB Digbeth, Article Date: 20/09/2023
Every morning when a new day starts, the world awakes, and millions of individuals embark on a journey that consumes a substantial portion of their lives – their journey to work (not everyone works from home). From throbbing city streets, peripheral lanes, and bumper-to-bumper roads the path daily leads us to a place where we pass a significant portion of our day – our workplace. Whether it is an office or the virtual orbit of remote work, our workplace holds an exclusive role in our lives. But…has anybody ever stopped and taken into consideration the effect the work environment has on our mental health? For the majority, the workplace is not only a physical space: it is a psychological realm where feelings, emotions, aspirations, and vulnerabilities run over. It is the landscape where positivity can flourish, where not only productivity develops but also the substance of our mental health. If you toss it over, when negativity spreads its shadow, it can inaudibly crumble our well-being, causing scars that affect beyond the boundaries of the office walls.
While exploring this, we undertake a journey to reveal the difficulties and complexities of the work environment and its influence on our mental health. We will explore the stories of those who have undergone the transformative power of positivity and resilience of those who were able to navigate the challenges of negativity. As the shadows illuminate and the rays of hope reveal, it becomes important to give a voice to the silent struggle many of us face and a platform to bring about a positive change with a collaborative effort.
As we carry on our journey through the convoluted tapestry of the workplace and its impact on our mental health and well-being, soon we navigate the landscape we discover the colourful hues of positivity that can transmute our workplace into something enriching.
Imagine this: a room echoing with the buzz of collaborative discussion, ideas streaming freely, and circulating feedback. This is the wizard of open communication. An environment where ideas are encouraged and a sense of unity and mutual respect is developed. Such casual catchups, brainstorming sessions, and exchanges of thought foster the seeds of positivity (Hoeven & Zoonen, 2023).
Let’s take a moment to recall, when it was the last time, someone recognised your effort, celebrated your success, or simply said: “Thank you”. These apparently small gestures hold enormous power. At the workplace, appreciation spreads like wildfire which kindles enthusiasm. Shoutouts in team meetings and giving some thank you notes, all these actions thrive our positivity (Chapman & White, 2019).
Leaders! Take a step forward. Your leadership matters more than you may realise. An empathetic leader always heeds, values, and offers a helping hand. When the employees are valued and supported, it develops a sense of security and makes them able to overcome challenges with grace (Wibowo & Paramita, 2022).
The symphony of positivity sounds more beautiful when it is composed of diverse melodies. Embracing diversity and inclusion is not about ticking the box, it is about honouring unique perspectives and fostering an atmosphere of tolerance. When everyone is heard and respected, it develops an atmosphere of harmony (Nair & Vohra, 2019).
Leaders are the torchbearers of positive change, your actions set the strong base for a successful organisation. Showcase positivity, resilience, and commitment to overall well-being. You lead by example and inspire others.
Summing up, building a positive environment is a collaborative effort. Each recommendation given is a brushstroke on the canvas of workplace wellbeing. Let all of us pick up these brushes and paint the workplace that raises and supports our spirits and reminds us that within the realm of work, positivity can flourish.
Stay tuned with our exploration, together we are creating a story of positivity in the workplace that booms far beyond the office walls.
Chapman, G. and White, P., 2019. The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace: Empowering organizations by encouraging people. Moody Publishers.
Istock. 2020. Happy young employees giving support and help each other stock illustration
Support, Teamwork, Illustration, Staircase, Steps
Nair, N. and Vohra, N., 2015. Diversity and inclusion at the workplace: a review of research and perspectives. Indian Institute of Management.
Ter Hoeven, C.L. and Van Zoonen, W., 2023. Helping others and feeling engaged in the context of workplace flexibility: The importance of communication control. International journal of business communication, 60(1), pp.62-83.
Wibowo, A. and Paramita, W., 2022. Resilience and turnover intention: the role of mindful leadership, empathetic leadership, and self-regulation. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 29(3), pp.325-341.