Mental health, or psychological well-being, is very important for people’s overall health and the quality of life.
Mental illness could affect everyone in some way, and it is common that we know someone struggling, or have struggled ourselves.
However, there are stigmas and myths about mental health that keep people from reaching the help they need.
Recently, Michele Moon, a mental health specialist at the University of Calgary, lists five common myths about mental health in the workplace everyone should know.
Myth 1: You need a diagnosis before you can address your mental health issues.
Truth: mental health is a complex continuum, and people can find themselves at extremes, or somewhere in the middle.
No matter where they are, it is important to take actions to protect their mental health.
Having a diagnosis is not necessary for you to take care of your mental health. But you should talk to doctors about any mental health concerns you have.
Myth 2: Having a mental illness means you are a bad employee.
Truth: People can recover from mental illnesses with proper treatments and supports. This is just like when people have physical illnesses.
Many mental illnesses are temporary and never return. Even many chronic mental conditions could be controlled to achieve fulfilling and productive work.
In addition, people who experience mental illness may develop strong skills to manage stress and solve problems. They could be better at handling tough times at the workplace.
Myth 3: You should not talk about mental health with your colleagues or boss.
Truth: Talking about mental health in the workplace could help normalize mental health experiences and reduce stigma.
People will feel easier to look for help when they are able to take about their problems.
Myth 4: It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses
Truth: Many mental illnesses are from stress and lack of social support. Therefore, it is important to improve stress management skills and build a strong social network.
People need to ensure that when life inevitably gets busy, stressful or overwhelming, they will not sacrifice their health.
Myth 5: Don’t reach out to colleagues on leave for mental health reasons.
Truth: That is not necessary. You can keep in touch with your colleagues if you have a preexisting personal relationship outside the office with them.
Having a strong network of support can play an important part in getting well. You can learn the individual’s preferences from your Human Resources representative or your team.
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