The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

As we kick off Mental Health Awareness Month, we are focused on building awareness around why mental health is essential for every workplace. Keep reading to recognize common misconceptions around mental health and learn to bring awareness to the truths of emotional well-being.

Helping employees become aware of their views on mental health can help them break down unhelpful beliefs and opinions to help them see mental health support as a regular part of being human.

What is Mental Health?  

Mental Health is a dynamic state of well-being influenced by biological, psychological, and social factors. Defined by the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can make a contribution to their community.”

Common Misconceptions about Mental Health

Mental health can carry negative stereotypes (also called stigmas) that can get in the way of prioritizing mental health and accessing support when we need it. 

Misconception: Mental health doesn’t have to do with me.  

Fact: Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Examples of mental health can involve strengthening social connection, stopping negative thought patterns, or seeking out professional treatment.  

Misconception: Mental health struggles are a sign of weakness. 

Fact: Would you consider someone with a broken leg inherently weaker? Multiple biological, psychological, and social factors contribute to mental health struggles—and no one is exempt. The continuum of mental health is a part of being human! We would argue, prioritizing and overcoming mental health struggles is a great sign of strength.  

Misconception: Mental health struggles are uncommon.  

Fact: 78% of adults say the Coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life.1 One in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.2 

Misconception: Mental health support is only for people with a mental health condition.  

Fact: It usually takes 11 years from the first sign of struggle to someone connecting for support 3 – think of all the opportunities!  There is no better time than now to prioritize your mental health.

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(1) National Institute of Health (NIH) 2019.  (2) American Psychological Association 2020. (3) National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2004​.