Psychological health is an aspect of overall well-being that impacts all areas of life, including the work environment. Having good psychological health can help people to achieve their goals and to lead productive, satisfying lives. People experiencing poor psychological health can have difficulty functioning, resulting in problems such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Mental health problems can also contribute to physical illness, as they are associated with higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses.
A variety of therapies and approaches are used to improve psychological health. These include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and EMDR. A psychologist or counselor who practices psychotherapy helps individuals manage diagnosed mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. They may also support individuals who are going through life changes, stressors, conflict resolution, and grief and bereavement.
Symptoms of mental illness may also be relieved with medications. Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and some primary care physicians provide medication to treat certain symptoms of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Medications can relieve these symptoms and allow people to resume social interaction and their normal routines while working on the root cause of the problem.
Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of mental illnesses, which can involve genetics, brain chemistry, the environment, trauma, and other medical issues such as heart disease. There is also growing interest in positive psychology, which focuses on increasing happiness and coping with life’s challenges. There are many self-help books and therapeutic systems that discuss methods and philosophies that emphasize this approach to mental wellness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of wellbeing that includes emotional and psychological well-being, and the ability to cope with life’s difficulties. WHO states that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that a holistic approach is needed to prevent and treat psychological harm.
Anxiety Disorders — Over 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalized or specific phobias. Mood Disorders — About 10% of adults each year suffer from depression or bipolar disorder, which are characterized by low moods.
The WHO recommends that organizations promote psychological health and safety by addressing the work environment, working conditions, and the relationship between them, as well as the personal factors that influence psychological health and well-being at all levels of the workplace. Specifically, the WHO suggests that organizations assess the psychosocial factors, adapted from the framework of Guarding Minds at Work: A Guideline to Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, known to impact psychological health and safety at the work place. Organizations should then develop and implement strategies for improving those factors that indicate a need for improvement. For example, a work environment that does not provide sufficient opportunities for employees to communicate and build relationships with each other, or that has insufficient flexibility to deal with changing workloads, can be a contributing factor to mental health concerns.