What does Mental Illness mean?

Mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s mood, thinking and behavior. It is a term that is often misunderstood. For some, it invokes images of severe cases such as schizophrenia. In reality, schizophrenia accounts for less than 1% of the mental illnesses in the United States.* Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental illnesses likely to be found in the workforce.

Similar to a physical illness, such as diabetes or asthma, mental illness can be episodic. This means people will have periods when they are motivated and highly productive, as well as times when they are not feeling well and functioning at a lower capacity. Mental illnesses are more likely to occur during times of high stress or uncertainty, so reducing stress in the workplace can be a big part of managing these conditions.

Suggested Action – Tips to reduce stress in the workplace:

1. Ensure employees have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

2. Provide positive feedback often so staff know they are delivering what is expected of them.

3. Keep employees informed about upcoming changes to their department or to the organization.

4. Eat lunch with your co-workers. Interesting article on the benefits of eating lunch together. http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2016-02-03/3-reasons-to-eat-lunch-with-your-co-workers

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Hellen Keller

* www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org

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