Psychological health includes a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. It influences how a person deals with stress and relationships, and affects how they function at work and school. Psychological health is the foundation of a healthy life. Without it, a person may not be able to perform their job or have healthy and fulfilling relationships.
Many factors affect psychological health, such as genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Mental illness can also have an impact on a person’s mental health. These disorders can include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can interfere with daily activities, such as sleeping, eating and working.
There are several ways to improve a person’s psychological health, such as therapy and medication. Psychotherapy, which is a type of talk therapy, can help people learn to manage their symptoms and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. This can lead to improved mood, better relationships and reduced risk of suicide. Medications are often used to treat serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These medications can be used alone or in combination with psychotherapy. Psychiatrists and psychologists are trained to provide this type of treatment.
Generally, mental health professionals measure the severity of a person’s psychological challenges based on how much they interfere with their daily lives and what caused them. For example, people who have been traumatized by war or other traumatic events can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mild challenges such as anxiety and depression are not likely to interfere with daily activities as much.
In the context of workplaces, a safe and supportive work environment can enhance a person’s psychological health and safety. However, a lack of support or understanding of workplace hazards can undermine a person’s well-being.
The psychological health of workers can be negatively impacted by their jobs, family, personal issues and community concerns. There are also specific threats to psychological health that can be related to gender, race and economic status. Those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have poorer psychological health. People who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, childhood abuse or substance abuse are more likely to have a mental health condition.
Despite the importance of improving psychological health, it can be challenging to do so. Current practice focuses primarily on intervening in those who have a diagnosed mental disorder and on trying to prevent disorder in the group at high risk (the “languishing” group). This approach can be effective, but it is not enough to fully meet the need for care and prevention.
Including 5-10 minute discussions about the 13 factors at team meetings is an important first step to start the discussion on improving psychological health in your workplace. If you are interested in incorporating this topic into your team meetings, please contact Rachael or Deb for more information on the process. They can facilitate the initial conversations and then schedule follow up support and facilitation as needed.