Is workplace mental health worth checking? Does EAP work?

We all have times when life just doesn’t behave. It shakes you up, it messes with your head, it causes angst and upset. The natural thing to do for most, is nothing. It will sort. And a lot of the time we work through our problems, a different day breeds a different outlook on the same issue etc.

But what happens when these life events impact on our ability to function at work? The one place where we need to be firing on all cylinders – our cash cow.

There are work problems and outside work problems. Both are tough and both can cause us to deviate from the focused, driven path we are expected to be on in our employment. If you are someone who hides the build up to the explosion within, then telltale signs may show in your work, leaving your seniors to wonder what is going on. If this is not spotted, then the cracks may not show until the volcano has exploded, which is a difficult to clean up from.  

Companies have been offering the Employers Assistance Programme (EAP) for many years to varying degrees. It is a caveat that shows that the employer cares, that your wellbeing is important. But what is it really like for the majority? In principle, this looks a great scheme. But surely the focus should be on making this scheme obsolete?  If we had a secure knowledge that any deviations in our mental wellbeing would not be seen critically and would be given a voice to be heard early doors, then there should not be a need to have assistance when that ‘closes the stable door when the proverbial horse has bolted’?

Failure and weakness are not traits that most of us like to admit to, or even share, especially within the workplace. With the chance to promote a more proactive mental resilience programme within companies I would like to see the focus shift to maintaining equilibrium rather than fixing the dilemma. A healthy workforce, mentally and physically, is a happier workforce. Productivity is better, sickness reduced, results happen. I commend the more forward-thinking enterprises that have grasped this concept and treat their staff with a nurturing ear.  

“We are all born with innate knowledge programmed into us from our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional need…People whose emotional  needs are met in a balanced way do not suffer mental health problems. ” www.hgi.org.uk

Giving a mental health check as part of an annual review could become the norm, allowing people the confidence to speak in a secure timeframe before urgency occurs. We should adopt a non judgemental approach to dealing with mental health; it is something that gets us all.  Luckily, enlightenment is coming. Views are changing. People matter. Embrace a new way of thinking about personnel. Mental health does not mean darkness.

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