How mental health training can prevent burnout in the workplace

SOURCE: Tracey Shelton/AFP
Hannah Koch, an administrator for the Victorian branch of the Facebook group Adopta Heathcare Worker whose goal is to match volunteer helpers with 'adoptee' healthcare workers struggling with increased work hours and stress from the pressures of fighting an unprecedented medical emergency that is unfolding across the globe.

By U2B Staff 

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Depending on where you work, the workplace can seem like a landmine. Whether you’re dealing with clients with taxing personalities, navigating office politics, coping with high-pressure deadlines or experiencing a lack of social support at work, prolonged periods of stress and anxiety will chip away at your mental health.

When that takes a hit, it affects our productivity and overall well-being. 

There is a stigma attached to mental health problems, which means not everyone will be open or willing to talk about it, or seek professional help.

But that doesn’t make it any less important to look into.


Why organisations need mental health training 

People Management reported in 2018 that just under 30% of businesses surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Aviva said they had seen an increase in the number of employees affected by mental health issues in the last three years, prompting experts to suggest more needs to be done to increase both disclosure of such issues and support mechanisms for employees. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that poor mental health and stress can negatively affect employees, including in their job performance and productivity; engagement with one’s work; communication with coworkers as well as physical capability and daily functioning.

Research said poor mental health and stressors at the workplace can be a contributory factor to a range of physical illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. 

It can also lead to burn-out amongst employees, seriously affecting their ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives.

Researchers say some occupations are at more risk of these issues than others.

“A study in the Netherlands mapped skill levels against the pace of work to have an idea about the risk for stress levels and mental ill health for different occupations. Higher stress levels correlated with a higher risk for mental ill health,” it said.


Climbing out of an emotional pit

Clearly, the scales tip in favour of a healthy mental health, making it essential for organisations to prioritise the well-being of its employees. Failure in which productivity and morale can take a dip, and may result in high turnover rates, loss of revenue and the like. 

This paves the way for mental health training in the workplace. 

These programmes vary depending on the provider, but they typically educate employees and managers about common mental health conditions and can help reduce the stigma surrounding such issues. 

Employees can learn a host of things, including spotting the warning signs that someone — or even themselves — may be struggling with mental health issues.  

Many training and microcredential providers offer related courses in the area, while there are also executive education courses that tackle issues including burnout in the workplace. 

Without a doubt, training in the area is an investment for many organisations that can help improve productivity in the workplace. They don’t aim to transform staff into “mini-therapists”, but they can offer some respite to improving overall well-being in the workplace and help staff take appropriate action for early intervention.