Pandemic Shift : Mental Illness At Work

With almost six months into Covid-19, we are well aware of the consequences that a a pandemic like this has on human life. The sudden break-out of the pandemic has brought drastic changes in our lives. Since the beginning of the lockdown, all of us have been stuck inside our homes. While some of us tried our hands at cooking, cleaning, exercise, etc., others had to do their usual office work from their homes. It was a pleasant and relaxing experience for some, while for a majority of the population, it came as a distressing event. There are a good number of people who have suffered from mental illnesses because of this change in lifestyle. An increase in the number of suicides in the previous days has proved that the lockdown has not been easy on anybody. The adverse effect it had on the mental health of people is nowhere hidden from us. Experts even say that the current pandemic has already sown seeds of another pandemic – a mental-health one.

Mental Illnesses at Work

Mental Illness can be defined as health conditions involving changes in emotions, thinking, behavior, or a combination of all. It involves distress and problems in functioning quality of social life, work, and family activities. They are also known as mental disorders. Work is an essential part of an individual’s life. One spends a good amount of time doing his/her job. Hence, one’s work has to be such that it brings peace and satisfaction to their life. Our well-being at work defines other aspects of our life, too. A little stress at work decides how a person will behave at home or with friends. Thus, an individual must have a healthy mindset at work.

Mental Illness at work is a topic that is gaining wide attention these days. That is because the current scenario has deteriorated the condition of people at work. A few months back, it was difficult for people to sit at home and do their jobs as they were not used to that set-up. After a few months, when people had finally adjusted to the conditions of working from home, they were called to their workplaces. Adjusting to a constantly changing situation like this is not possible for everyone. Such people are facing consequences in the form of increased stress and anxiety, mood swings, depression, etc.

Impact of Mental Illness on Work, Workplace and Co-workers

Mental disorders have a huge impact on the normal lifestyle of an individual. The severity, duration, and other factors affecting the illness decide how the illness will affect the workplace and work of that individual. Such people are usually less confident, frustrated, impatient, and sensitive while conversing with their co-workers. Some changes that are witnessed at work are seen factors such as productivity, learning, creativeness, activeness, and concentration of the person. These people are likely to act weird, lost, or extremely sad in certain circumstances.

How can one deal with it?

The solution to most of our problems lies in finding the cause behind them. Prolonged stress, anxiety, and uncertainty develop into mental illnesses with time. Mental illnesses at work can either result from a factor in the workplace or from any other factor affecting our work indirectly. Workplace factors include not being able to get along with co-workers, uncomfortable settings, bullying or discrimination, getting paid less for the work done, lack of interest in the job, etc. Other factors that can affect the individual indirectly are inability to focus on a majority of tasks, stress at home or with close friends, personal loss, etc.

These factors can be the reasons for poor mental health. However, the reasons may vary from one individual to another. Mental illnesses have thousands of stereotypes associated with them. No matter how troublesome it may sound, if such illnesses are recognized early and the patient is referred to the right therapists, it can be treated. It is in very few cases in very serious mental disorders, that the condition is deteriorated to an extent beyond treatment.

The right treatment to heal from a mental illness requires taking the right steps. Here are a few:

  • Take a break
  • Talk it out
  • Take care of your physical health
  • Eat healthy and exercise daily
  • Get proper sleep
  • Start working on time and task management
  • Take some time out for yourself
  • Indulge in self-care
  • Seek professional help if necessary
  • Visit a counselor
  • Contact a community organization

How can one support a co-worker?

Taking care of and supporting co-workers is as important as self-care. As a responsible citizen of the society, one must keep a regular check on his/her near and dear ones. It is not a new fact that the sufferers of mental illnesses don’t usually talk about their problems. Since mental health is still considered a stigma in our society, it is difficult for people to speak about it. Lack of such liberty calls for the need for vigilance by us. As far as possible, one must see to it that his/her co-workers are not facing any kind of difficulty at the workplace. Co-workers must support each other now and then. However, it is purely up to the other person if they want to share their problem or not.

You can do your part by offering support in the following ways:

  • Respect their decisions
  • Make them feel welcomed
  • Be in touch
  • Lend a helping hand
  • Appreciate often
  • Involve them in all possible activities, professional and unprofessional

Good health and productivity go hand in hand. Until and unless you’re physically and mentally well, you can’t do well at work. Some people face temporary problems which require the right referral at the right time in order to get back on the path of recovery. For those whose illness is critical, it can still be sorted by taking professional help. The pandemic has added to our miseries and to our mental-disorders. All you need is support, care, and lots of patience because no matter how hard it may seem, this too shall pass.

BUDDY to share all your problems with (even anonymously, if you want) on the FeelJoy Mobile App available for all Android users.


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