Mental Health and Well-being

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Lys Ilunga

We can all relate that when we are not feeling well, there is nothing much we can do – we either sleep or waste away all day. 

But, of course, there are people with superpowers who can handle it when it hurts or cannot afford to lose any time or income. Breadwinners and parents are a part of this crew, but even heroes need a break. 

In this article, we will look at how mental health and well-being affect productivity in the workplace, how it impacts organizational growth, why well-being and mental health are essential, and what leaders can do to create positive mental health in the organization.

Before jumping in, let us understand mental health and well-being.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mental health as emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we feel, think, and act and determines how we relate to others and make choices. It is essential through every stage of a person’s life. When it is not adequately taken care of, it can lead to mental illnesses. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that mental health allows individuals to cope with daily stresses, realize their abilities to contribute to their community and work productively and fruitfully. 

On the other hand, well-being is the state of being happy and healthy, but more goes into this.

 Well-being is the outcome that is meaningful to people and various sectors of society because each person has their perception of what their lives would look like if they were going well. 

CDC defines Health-Related Quality Of Life (HRQOL) as “an individual’s or a group’s perceived physical and mental health over time”. It encompasses positive and negative physical and psychological aspects of social functioning and well-being. 

Importance of Mental health and Well-being

If a person is not ill and does not need to see a psych, people tend to think that they are all good, but a lot is going on in the environment for them not to be cautious with their well-being and mental health.

Mental health and well-being are vital because they help build constructive behaviors and emotions and increase productivity.

PlaneStreet’s article, ‘Top Ten Reasons Why Mental Health is so Essential,’ highlights why mental health is important:

  • Relationships – if someone has a mental illness, they become hostile or passive-aggressive, impacting their interactions with friends, family, and workmates.
  • Physical health – mental illnesses may cause our immunity to certain physical diseases to be weakened or directly cause the disease. When our mind is unwell, the first thing we are unable to do is move about.
  • Emotions – when a person is not in the right state mentally, they are irritable, sad, anxious, annoyed, and have a negative perspective on everything.
  • Suicide – suicidal thoughts come along with other issues that mental illnesses bring. Thus, taking care of both our physical and psychological health will prevent the wanting to disappear or make it end by taking away one’s life.

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health lists the following as a few among many reasons why well-being is essential, regardless of its type, it helps us achieve the following:

  • Overcome difficulties
  • Accomplish our goals
  • Decrease risks of health problems
  • Increased productivity and creativity
  • Life satisfaction

The above lists show that a person needs mental health and well-being to be their best version.

Mental Health and Well-being in the Workplace

This article focuses on the connection between quality of life, productivity, mental health, and well-being. When one is mentally stable, one feels good and functions well.

But unfortunately, it is not always the case for everyone. When a person does not take care of his mental health from the preliminary stages of childhood, it leads to harmful consequences as the individual reaches’ adolescence. Further, down the line, if still not investigated, the person’s state can become irrecuperable in adulthood.

‘These Statistics Prove that Wellness Improves the Workplace Experience’ by Cecilia Amador states that full-time employed individuals spend about 38% of their weekday at work. Their well-being and mental health are primarily affected by what happens at work. Therefore, companies must address their workforce’s emotional, social, mental, and physical well-being.

Surveys and studies show that people’s physical and mental states affect how they work and that there are ways to address this issue.

A global survey found that workforce unwellness costs 10 to 15 percent of the annual economic output. About 70 to 80 percent of companies believe in wellness programs to increase productivity and decrease absenteeism.

The above statistics are very alarming. Individuals are affected, and so is the organization. For instance,

  • The staff cannot get the work done, and the relationships within the organization are detrimental to everyone involved. There is no respect, and the culture is not supportive of the individuals’ successes other than that of the company.
  • The organization will have difficulty generating income because the staff is not productive, and there is a considerable risk their competitor will take them over. Employees could try to go to competitors that offer a healthier workplace causing attrition issues in the organization.
  • The company might be unable to draw partners or investors. It can lead to the company losing its brand value and reputation, making it difficult to acquire talent. Eventually, a company might shut down or have a bunch of people feeding in on the toxicity of the environment.

What, then, can the People in Power do about it?

Certain aspects of the several types of well-being directly or indirectly affect our mental health. For instance, a person with healthy relationships is less likely to be lonely and depressed.

However, if they work at a toxic office, they are prone to stress or burnout. For this reason, companies need to create a safe and healthy work environment that will help people at all levels to be productive.

Companies can accomplish this in many ways but should ensure that it works for them because there is no one size that fits all wellness programs or campaigns.

It all starts with the individual eating healthily, getting decent sleep, and exercising to stay fit.

Martin Seligman’s PERMA theoretical model of happiness can be a valuable tool for people before the organization jumps in. The acronym stands for Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.

The model helps us understand the various elements that contribute to our happiness, breaking it down into manageable pieces, and helps us track our progress.

The organization can help its staff further by not adding to their stress levels and cultivating a healthier work environment. They can achieve this by:

  • Talking about it – like the saying goes, a burdened shared is a burden halved. When you are not well, the initial step to help is to tell someone about it. Understandably, not everyone is open to sharing problems; thus, the company needs to speak about what can go wrong when mental health and well-being are not taken care of without strictly prioritizing the organization and its people.
  • Investing – new skills training is just as important as the staff’s mental and physical health. As the company fosters a culture of openness, outsourcing is safe if there is no one in-house to help the people already struggling with or battling mental illnesses or well-being problems.
  • Hold events – organizing wellness and fitness programs and various social events addressing specific issues, even what the organization is failing to achieve, is crucial.
  • Value relationships – no matter which direction the arrow goes on the hierarchy, every individual has value; thus, values around relationships should not depend on authority.

The above list is not exhaustive about what a company could do to help its people lead a happy work life.

Positive outcomes depend on knowing what the people experience and choosing how best to help them. Again, this is a win-win for the organization and its people.


An individual’s mental health is significant because it impacts everything our lives revolve around.

As stated above, getting help when we feel overwhelmed or get out of places that are not doing us good is imperative. Often, we do not have the luxury of choosing our workplaces because of some complex realities that life confronts us with.

It is crucial to take matters into our own hands and care for ourselves when there is no one to do it because we matter just as much as other people or things we need to look after.

It is, therefore, vital to engage in things that make us happy and stay in touch with ourselves and diagnose our states before we need anyone to come to our rescue.

A company needs to stand with and for its people to ensure everyone is happy, there is a need to raise mental health and well-being awareness to make people feel that they are essential and not just assets to the company.

There must be fun, not just strict business, and the understanding that life is already complicated. There is no need for anyone to add to another’s pressures.

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