Supporting Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

Most people who have entered adulthood, spend most of their time in the work circle. Many dynamics then occur in life at work. Starting from environmental problems with both superiors and co-workers, problems with salaries, burdens or work targets. These problems will certainly cause pressure in carrying out the work itself, and can have an impact on the mental health of employees. 

The pressure that continues to arise on employees will have an impact on physical and mental fatigue and trigger stress which will lead to the next problem, namely burnout syndrome .


Mental Health at Work

Mental health is the realization of harmony between mental functions and the creation of adjustment between individuals and their environment. When so much pressure comes from the environment, in this case the workplace, it will have an effect on the physical and emotional aspects of employees, which if not realized quickly will result in work stress. Stress levels will continue to increase, if the factors in the environment do not work as expected.

Mental health issues in the workplace are very important to be discussed and known, even though in the workplace, many employees feel doubtful and don't even know when they have a disorder that might interfere with their mental health. They feel ashamed and afraid to be considered incompetent, get negative assessments from both colleagues and superiors, to the point of fear of losing their job. This causes more employees to keep quiet about any difficulties or distractions they may feel.

Megiza (2016) explained that based on the Huffington Post, it is predicted that around 85% of mental health problems of employees in America are not diagnosed or received treatment. The impact is a decrease in productivity due to the lack of maximum ability of employees that can be provided in the process of completing work. 

Burnout Syndrome

One of the mental health phenomena that occurs in the workplace and is sometimes not realized is work stress due to fatigue, both physically and emotionally. Work stress that continues to accumulate can result in burnout for employees. Burnout itself is defined as a syndrome that contains symptoms of emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion, and mental fatigue accompanied by feelings of low self-esteem as a result of prolonged stress (Baron and Greenberg, 1990).

There are at least four symptoms that can describe a person experiencing burnout syndrome (Baron and Greenberg, 1990), namely:

1. Physical fatigue

These symptoms are characterized by nausea, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, and headaches

2. Emotional exhaustion

This symptom is characterized by feelings of helplessness, depression and feeling trapped in the task at hand.

3. Mental Fatigue

This symptom is characterized by a cynical perception of others, more easily suspicious of others for no reason, and tends to do things that are detrimental to themselves, work and the organization.

4. Feeling of Low Personal Accomplishment

This symptom is characterized by feelings of inadequacy or underachievement at work, feelings of dissatisfaction with themselves, work and life.

Causes of Burnout

Where does burnout come from, of course there are two factors that cause it, both internal and external factors, and can be explained as follows (Maslach et al, 2001):

Internal factors: usually factors that come from the employees themselves.

  1. Employee demographics such as age, education level, marital status and years of service. Information related to this individual will be able to influence employee perceptions and expectations of the work they have.
  2. Personality characteristics are how these employees have the toughness in dealing with any problems during the work process. In addition, employees have self-control in dealing with work stress, by being able to control their emotions. When faced with failure or results that are not in line with expectations, employees who have low self-esteem are more prone to burnout. This is because employees will feel themselves incapable, useless, and continue to blame themselves.
  3. Work attitude is related to the expectations you have as well as a strong desire to be able to achieve the best results. This attitude will usually do everything to achieve the expected goals, this has a good side, but has a greater impact on feeling tired and if the expectations are not achieved there will be cynicism, both towards the situation, the environment and to oneself.
External factors: factors that come from outside the individual, usually in the organizational environment.

  1. Characteristics of work in which the workload is related, namely a number of tasks that must be completed with a level of difficulty that can result in physical and mental fatigue.
  2. Role conflict is the existence of demands that are not in line with the individual.
  3. Role ambiguity, i.e. employees do not have enough information related to the completion of their work.
  4. Social support is the interaction that exists between employees and above and also with colleagues during the work process.

Burnout Impact

Employees who experience burnout will certainly face consequences that are not only detrimental to themselves but also to the organization. Two things that will definitely be affected due to burnout experienced by employees are the impact of performance and health, all of which will affect the welfare and happiness of the employees themselves.

An employee who experiences burnout will usually have a decreased performance, ranging from attendance discipline, intention to leave work, turnoveractual, and this happens because of fatigue which then causes job satisfaction and commitment to work to decrease. In fact, it does not only result in their own work, but can cause conflicts with co-workers. 

This burnout can be contagious and persists through informal interactions in the workplace. Burnout not only has an impact on employee performance, but also on their health. Prolonged fatigue will result in mental dysfunction, which triggers negative effects on mental health such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem which will disrupt the lives of employees themselves (Maslach et al, 2001).

How to Overcome Burnout

Seeing the importance of mental health awareness, including in the workplace by looking at the impact it has, it is necessary for us to find ways to overcome and even anticipate so that work fatigue does not become prolonged work stress and become burnout . 

Here are some ways that can be done to overcome and anticipate burnout in the workplace:

1. Recognizing the problems faced at work

In order to overcome burnout and minimize its impact, it is important to be aware of the problem at hand. Accepting existing problems with the emotions felt, will make us more quickly understand and look for what to do as a solution. Focus on the small changes we have made to be calmer in dealing with existing problems.

2. Seek support from people around (colleagues or superiors and family)

Basically we are social creatures, so we definitely need each other. Therefore we also need to communicate with other people, and this can help reduce burnout symptoms. We can share complaints even if only to be heard and not always have to get a solution.

3. Implement time management to balance work with personal life

Make a schedule for activities both work and activities outside the workplace. Good time management will help regulate work patterns and also balance it with other life outside the workplace so as to reduce fatigue and boredom in activities at work.

4. Mindfulness

This is an attitude where we focus our minds on something that is being done without thinking about the past and its implications for the future, so we can focus more on doing the current task. This will help reduce negative thoughts that can make you anxious, so you can reduce mistakes made.

5. Set aside time to rest and relax

When you feel tired or tired, stop for a moment. Just to stretch, get out for some fresh air, but give your body and mind some time to rest. Relaxation can be done in the morning or evening, before or after work, to be able to further help yourself to be calm and reflective.

6. Realize your own capacity

Realize that we have limited abilities, so it would be better if we were able to realistically make achievements. Appreciate every small change that this self has achieved and do, so that more self-esteem can be built properly.

7. Apply a healthy lifestyle

Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough sleep. Because physical health will affect a healthy mind, so it will be more productive in carrying out daily activities and at work.

Mental health in the workplace is something that both employees and organizations need to pay attention to. Burnout is a condition that occurs not overnight, so to be able to overcome it requires a process. Never hesitate to ask for help, if you find it difficult to deal with existing conditions or problems.

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