Mental health should be among the priorities of any business. However, some companies tend to ignore this problem, despite legal mandates in place that aim to protect mental health concerns. Mental health has proven to have a huge impact on employees and as individual people. For businesses, this can lead to increased staff turnover, absences caused by crippling depression, reduced drive to perform, unrelenting exhaustion, and decreased productivity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that depression will soon be the most common illness by 2030, which may lead to graver illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Today, approximately 70 million business days are lost due to mental health problems worldwide, according to the Mental Health Foundation in the UK.
This is why employers must boldly tackle and address this growing problem. When handled properly, this could result in a promising and happier staff, a healthier workforce, such as more responsive virtual staff from the Philippines, and of course, a booming business.
But how can one accomplish this? A healthy workplace can start with you. It can be built from good management relationships, clear HR policies, and staff engagement in decision making. However, sometimes, as much as you would want to help your staff, it could be tricky to spot the signs with your employees. Some hide their mental issues really well, while some suffer in silence, fearing the imminent danger of being discriminated against.
This is one of the main reasons why there remains a gap between employers and staff who struggle against mental health issues. Nine out of ten people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination, according to the same Mental Health Foundation study. According to the report, 56% of employers said they would not hire someone with depression. This unspoken and sad truth just pushes these individuals to hide their condition, affecting their work performance, and ultimately their employers’ businesses.
As an employer here are some signs that your regular employee or remote staff could be struggling from this debilitating condition:
- Employees may seem emotional, irritable, sensitive, and down, more than usual.
- Low self-esteem.
- When they seem to make more mistakes than usual or are having cognitive problems.
- Unexpected drop in performance.
- When your staff suddenly becomes tardy, aloof, and out of character. Let’s say you have a virtual assistant from the Philippines who is suddenly not as bubbly as he/she is normally. This could already be a warning flag.
- On a business level, it is also important to notice spikes in staff turnover, and productivity and efficiency issues.
Even Filipinos, who are widely deemed as one of the most cheerful and resilient people in the world, cannot escape this struggle. Fortunately, the Philippines enacted the Mental Health Act to a law in 2017. Its purpose is to incorporate comprehensive mental health services into the country, for both public and private sectors. Filipinos would no longer suffer silently in the dark as mental health awareness has now become more open and accessible in the country.
This could mean that when you offshore personal assistants from the Philippines, they would likely be more mentally healthy, and open to seeking help when needed. This aforementioned law has given Filipinos a gentle nudge saying “It’s okay, we get it, you can tell us.”
Mental health stigma is real. As an employer, you have the power to address this. Mental health in the workplace is one priority that can no longer be ignored and shoved to the side. It has now become necessary for all organizations, across all sectors, to take a pro-active stand to manage this. Mental health is something we all need to take care of. Our brains are just like any other organ that needs to be in good condition to function well. When we achieve good mental health, everything falls perfectly into place–both in our personal and professional lives.