A recent report from Today Online highlights the benefits that companies often see when they make it a priority to support their employees’ mental health. Companies who are reasonably accommodating for their employees’ emotional well-being usually see better productivity, increased employee retention, and growing employee loyalty.

Job Retention and Mental Illness in Singapore

Tan Lili, who is the executive director for the Singapore Association for Mental Health, describes various ways that the workplace environment can impact a person’s mental well-being. The workplace “is often a cornerstone from which a person contributes meaningfully to community life,” she says.

However, individuals who suffer from poor mental health in Singapore often struggle to keep their jobs. Some may have to leave a job to undergo treatment; and when they return, their job may not be available any longer. Even if they are able to get their old job back, they may face stigma in the workplace about their mental health.

“Finding a job or returning to one and retaining it after treatment is often a challenge,” says Tan. “Many are afraid to discuss this with their co-workers and their bosses. They do not want to lose their job, damage their relationships or risk future employers learning of their illness and marginalising them. Stigma surrounds them, and the recovery process is often misunderstood.”

A Scenario of Repression and Stigma

Let’s consider two possible scenarios. In the first scenario, Rosemary works in a high-pressure office. Deadlines, customer complaints, and pressure from her bosses contribute to the depression she already endures because of trauma in her past. Her situation declines until she is forced to go to a hospital for treatment and recovery. Upon her return, Rosemary finds that people look at her with suspicion or even hostility. They seem uncomfortable or unhappy around her. She feels ostracised, and this makes her mental health worse again. Eventually, Rosemary leaves the company, taking with her the exceptional skills and attention to detail that made her a model employee.

A Case of Positivity and Support

Imagine another scenario with a woman named Mia. She works in a fast-paced environment like Rosemary’s office, but her bosses focus on rewards and positive motivation. They allow employees to take a number of “mental health days” to rest and refresh their minds. The company also offers counselling for employees who may be stressed, grieving, or struggling with mental health conditions. If Mia is struggling with her anxiety disorder, she knows that she won’t be rejected or stigmatised. That knowledge helps her stay positive and upbeat, and she is able to channel her anxiety into faster, more efficient work that makes her company more profitable.

Important Steps for Employers

As Tan Lili says, “An all-round effort is required for a truly inclusive work environment. This is why we provide training and talks for employers.” She explains that the training includes “how to promote good mental health practices in the workplace, as well as exploring coping measures for employees who may need referral and rehabilitation, or providing reasonable accommodation for them to perform their job.”

When companies can work with employees regarding mental health issues, they increase employee loyalty, productivity, and retention. That’s good for both the company and the community as a whole.
If you’re interested in pursuing a better workplace environment for people with mental health issues, consult with the staff at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. Our expert Singapore psychiatrists can offer some advice and information about reaching individuals who are struggling and inviting them to seek care.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Today Online, 14 April 2017