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Mental Health in The Workplace: Understanding This Crucial Component 

Every day, mental health is becoming less taboo and more widely accepted as a topic that can no longer be swept under the rug. Whilst many of us spend most of our lives at work, educating others about the importance of mental health in the workplace is crucial to not only creating healthy work environments for all, but putting support systems in place for those who need them.

As the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the globe, it left many people in a wake of depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles. As the world slowly began to return to a sense of normality, the challenges left behind became incredibly obvious, especially in the workplace.

Let us dive into this subject a bit more to raise awareness of the crucial component mental health plays in creating happier, more motivated, and more successful employees.


What Is Mental Health? The Basics

Before we jump into our understanding of mental health in the workplace, it is important to get a firm grasp on exactly what we mean when we say mental health. 

Mental health can be defined as an overall state of wellbeing that allows an individual to regulate their emotions, cope with everyday stressors, problem solve, and think in healthy ways. When someone’s mental health is poor, they may struggle with feelings of hopelessness, irritability, burnout, sadness, worry, and more.

Whilst it is not uncommon to view the term ‘mental health’ in combination with ‘mental illness’ it is crucial to point out that the two are not always the same thing. An individual can struggle with their mental health but not have a diagnosable mental illness. On the flip side, an individual can be diagnosed with a mental illness but have a good grasp on their mental health.

A few examples of mental health struggles that may impact an employee’s ability to reach their full potential include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic loneliness
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Stress (chronic or short term)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Mental health problems can arise from one-time events in an individual’s life such as the loss of a loved one, or financial troubles, or can arise from more long-term circumstances such as domestic abuse or a chronic illness.


What Does the Law State About Supporting Mental Health at Work?

In the United Kingdom, employers are bound by a ‘duty to care’. To put it simply, an employer is obligated to provide mental health assistance for their employees if it is needed.

Whether work is the direct source of their stress or not, employers must do all they can to support their employee’s overall health and safety – both physical and mental.

According to the Equality Act of 2020, a mental health condition can be identified as a disability if:

  • It causes substantial impairment of an employee
  • It causes an employee to be unable to perform the tasks required of them
  • It has lasted at least 12 months (or is projected to)
  • It causes difficulties in daily activities

If an employee is found to have a disabling mental health condition, it is legally required for the employer to make accommodations to help support this individual. In addition, it holds legal consequences if an employer discriminates based on their employee’s mental health condition.


Mental Health in the Workplace

Work Performance and Mental Health

It is not surprising that when employees feel better on the inside, they perform better on the outside. As an individual’s mental health flourishes, they are far more likely to approach their work tasks with a positive frame of mind, as well as gain the ability to be more flexible and problem solve.

In addition, employees feel as though their work is more meaningful, they feel more connected to their job as a whole and have the desire to put in their best work.

However, when an individual’s mental health is struggling (even slightly) they may find it incredibly challenging to even perform basic tasks.

A few examples of how poor mental health can negatively affect an individual in the workplace include:

  • Difficulty communicating with others
  • Physical capabilities are diminished
  • Decision making skills are hindered
  • Productivity declines
  • Job performance decreases
  • Engagement with work tasks is altered
  • Lack of focus
  • Difficulties in short-term memory


How Can Mental Health Be Supported in The Workplace?

Mental health is best managed from a proactive point of view. Instead of waiting until a situation arises, cultivating an environment of safety and appreciation for employees is imperative.

This can be done by:

  • Establishing that mental health is just as important as physical health
  • Managers talk openly with staff
  • Employees have opportunities for one-on-one discussions with management
  • Mental health awareness training
  • Risk assessments
  • Relaxation spaces
  • Mental health assessment tools: quizzes, self-check-ins, and work/life balance questionnaire
  • Free (or subsidised) screenings for mental health illnesses

When employees feel more supported in their personal struggles, they are far more likely to thrive in the roles they play within the company. In some cases, communication is the first key step in cultivating a business that cares about the personal lives of its employees.

Poor mental health is problematic for everyone involved. However, increasing awareness of this ever-growing issue is the first step in creating healthier environments for everyone.

As mental health is becoming less stigmatised, now is an ideal time for companies to step up and act in supporting their employees.

As companies take the time to educate themselves and implement ways to provide care for their employees, they allow space for individuals within their business to thrive, both personally and professionally.


Orchestrate Health offers bespoke mental health services that people can access from the comfort of their own home or within their community, with rapid response times and even daily visits if needed. Orchestrate Health can provide help for those struggling with mental health in the workplace, and remove the inconvenience of travelling to and from appointments.






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Orchestrate Health is a private pay healthcare company and therefore works outside of the NHS and CAMHS provision.

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