Mental Health in the Workplace: Psycho-social Working Conditions

Mental Health in the Workplace: Psycho-social Working Conditions

Mental Health in the workplace is a topic that is becoming more widely discussed by employers, and key insights have been uncovered in recent studies on psycho-social conditions and mental health in the workplace. In a recent article entitled “Psychosocial Work Conditions and Mental Health: Examining Differences Across Mental Illness and Well-Being Outcomes” by Jonathan K Fan, Cameron Mustard, and Peter M Smith, the authors observed that psycho-social work conditions were not only associated with negative measures of mental health, but also positive measures. The study pulled data from a 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental Health, conducted by Statistics Canada, where 10,000 participants between the ages of 15 and 74, who work at least eight hours per week, were examined.

The Findings:

The study explored psycho-social conditions, as well as personal factors, which contributed to changes in mental health, and found associations between job control, social support, and job security, and changes in the odds of overall mental health disorders in participants. When these psycho-social and personal factors were taken into consideration, the results demonstrated an increase in the odds of a worker being free from a mental health disorder, by roughly 8 – 15%, and an increase in the odds of a worker reporting positive mental well-being by approximately 10 – 14%. However, it was noted that higher levels of job security, job control, and social support were more closely linked with positive mental well-being, rather than participants claiming to be free of mental disorders.

Limitations:

It is important to note that while the results of this study point to a change in the odds of participants positive mental well-being, the study has it’s limitations with regard to considerations of personal and family history of mental disorders, and may also be limited in it’s scope of workplace factors as well. Although deriving a basis for causation is inherently limited, we can observe the effectiveness of focusing on factors that contribute to positive mental well-being as intently as we observe the effectiveness of focusing on factors that contribute to poor mental health. Here’s a closer look at the article:

https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article-abstract/63/5/546/5487669?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Examples of Poor Mental Health:

  • Being stressed or overwhelmed – could be caused by work, relationships, school, finances, etc.
  • Feeling sad over a loss
  • Feeling anxious due to an obligation such as a test, important meeting, or event
  • Feelings of being unfulfilled due to a lack of self-care
  • Experiencing compassion fatigue or burnout

What can you do as an Employer?:

  • Ensure that you have audited your workplace for psychological risk factors
  • Consider psychological health when planning workplace supports and programs
  • Train your managers on ways to support employee mental health
  • Provide employees with training and support for mental health resiliency
  • As a leader in your workplace, model healthy workplace behaviours for mental health

How can we Take Care of Our Mental Health?:

  • Practice gratitude – focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for
  • Practice mindfulness – try grounding techniques and being present in the moment
  • Take time for things that matter to you – hobbies, reading, getting out in nature, etc.
  • Engage in social interactions – laughing with friends and spending time with loved ones
  • Participate in physical resiliency activities such as exercise, sports, or going for walks

How can Gowan Consulting Help?

Gowan Consulting has many resources for assisting with managing mental health in the workplace. We’re in a new era of inspiring positive change surrounding mental health in the workplace, and we want to talk about it, understand it, and be open about it!

Gowan Consulting can assist with auditing for risks and implementing the psychological health and safety in the workplace standards. Our Occupational Therapists can provide training to your managers on supporting mental health in the workplace and provide training for employees on mental health resiliency.

For more on all we have to offer, contact us! We want to help make the difference in your healthy business!

Works cited:

Psychosocial Work Conditions and Mental Health: Examining Differences Across Mental Illness and Well-Being Outcomes, Jonathan K Fan, Cameron Mustard, Peter M Smith

https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article-abstract/63/5/546/5487669?redirectedFrom=fulltext

CSA National Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standards

https://www.csagroup.org/documents/codes-and-standards/publications/CAN_CSA-Z1003-13_BNQ_9700-803_2013_EN.pdf

Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Volume 63, Issue 5, June 2019, Pages 546–559,https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxz028

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society

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