Mental Health FAST FACTS

Work takes up a third of our day. It has an important role in our lives. The working environment can positively or negatively affect our mental wellbeing and, in the same way, we can positively or negatively affect our workplace.

Mental Health FAST FACTS

What is Mental Health?

Mental health describes how we think and feel about ourselves and others and how we interpret events in everyday life. It also relates to our ability to cope with change, transition, significant life events and the stress that often comes our way.

(An understanding of) mental health…includes the awareness that mental health is broader than an absence of mental disorders; that poor mental health affects our ability to cope with and manage our lives, particularly during personal change and through key life events, and decreases our ability to participate fully in life; and that mental health is an essential component of general health, which it underpins (A Vision for Change, 2006).

Mental health refers to the emotional resilience to be able to enjoy life and to survive pain, disappointment and sadness, and to the level of belief in your own and others’ dignity and worth.

Mental health and mental well-being are therefore part of everyday life, in that mental well-being is influenced, both positively and negatively, in every area of life; in families, schools, the workplace and in social interactions. (A Vision for Change, 2006). (Source: Mental Health in Ireland: Awareness and Attitudes (HSE, 2007).

Most experts consider mental health as a continuum ranging from poor mental health to positive mental health. Thus, the quality of an individual’s mental health may have many different possible levels. Mental health is comprised of emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing (Keyes, 2002).

Workplace Mental Health

The main mental health issues that impact on the workplace in terms of absenteeism are anxiety and depression (13%), stress (7%), nervous debility / bereavement (4%) and post natal depression (2%). Absence costs small business over €490 million per annum with 4,052,222 days lost in 2014 (SFA, 2016)

workplace office issues

The main workplace issues that can create/ lead to poor mental health include: role ambiguity, role conflict, role overload, work-family conflict , performance monitoring, job design, monotony and repetition and job opportunities. (Mellor et al, 2014)

physical job unloading van with trolley

Almost half of Irish workers indicate that their time in work consists mainly of tasks that involve physical activity – moderate physical effort (35%), physically demanding work (13%).

workplace burnout

The most prevalent workplace induced condition affecting mental health is burnout. Burnout is defined as “a stress reaction to prolonged exposure to job stressors” ( Maslach et al, 2000).

men and women office stress differences

Males and females can exhibit different burnout behaviours with females more inclined to exhibit emotional exhaustion than males and males more likely to exhibit depersonalisation than females. (Purvanova et al, 2010)

training for workplace stress management

A supportive work environment, Employee Assistance Programmes, workplace courses on stress management, resilience training and skills training are all factors that can alleviate and prevent workplace stress. (Mellor, 2014)

Burnout Symptions

  • Emotional exhaustion, which refers to work-related fatigue
  • Depersonalization that results from an indifference to work
  • Diminished feelings of accomplishment, which accounts for a decline in one’s competence and productivity. (Schaufeli, et al, 1996)