Here’s how you can make a difference in others lives this Mental Health Day and always.
The world will be a better place when people talk openly about mental health.
This is a hopeful statement, not an affirmation. To make it the latter, constant work and discourse are a must, especially in the workplace. In this vein, Swiggy hosted Ketaki Natekar, a behavioural psychology expert, to discuss coping mechanisms, work related stress, and the finer nuances of checking in with one another.
- How does one prioritise mental health at the workplace?
While conversations around mental health get prominence on important days, following up on them makes the difference. Integrate it in everyday discussions, perhaps by starting your meetings with check-ins. Reminding teammates to take mental health leaves is a good place to start.
- How can you be a mental health advocate?
We often think that advocating mental health means becoming everyone’s shoulder to cry on. It’s not always that way. To become an advocate, participate in wellness workshops, help your teammates find accessible therapy, and above all, be kind to everyone around you.
You could help your teammates access care, and participate in workshops organised for wellness by being kind to those around you.
- What are some tips to tackle stress when you are overwhelmed at work?
We don’t have a separate “work plate”. It’s about all areas of our lives. You can even be stressed if personal life takes up more space than usual. Slowing down, focusing on the here & now is important. Take it one day at a time and always incorporate breaks.
- What are the common signs of identifying stress in a coworker and how does one help them?
First of all, you are a very kind person if you want to reach out to colleagues in distress. Stress represents itself in various ways. Difficulty sustaining long meetings, not being their creative selves, inability to participate in new stuff, errors at work – these are noticeable signs. These depict sparse attention spans and trouble in energy management. Helping them won’t be easy, because all of us struggle with vulnerability. Checking in, sharing memes, planning activities, sending supportive messages or calling them are ways you can help. And when they are ready, direct them to a professional to address their deeper emotional concerns.
- How do we proactively manage common stressful situations?
We are stressed when overworked and lost when we are not! Do you see the irony? What you do in less stressful phases is what will help when it increases. Take breaks, pay attention to your health, spend time with loved ones, and take up passion projects. These feed you with happiness that helps during tough periods.
- How can companies create an environment where mental health is an open conversation? Can inclusive language make a difference?
Take away the stigma around mental health, normalise discussing therapy like everyday conversations, let people participate in deciding the next mental health workshops. Start using wild/ weird instead of crazy or psycho, avoid using disorders like OCD and depression trivially. Use more gender-neutral terms like ‘folks’ instead of ‘guys’, avoid labels like, ‘he’s ADHD.’ Instead use ‘someone with ADHD’ to make a difference. Crowd source a list from your employees, it will help adapting become easier and make the process inclusive too.
- How to implement sustainable coping mechanisms at work?
Workplaces can be a hub of coping mechanisms. Place reminders by the coffee counter. Have calming (gadget-free) corners in your office, green spaces within and around the workspace. A gym/ play area is also helpful.
- What can leaders/people managers do as individuals when it comes to mental health?
Effect always trickles from top to bottom in organisations. Making holistic wellbeing a part of your leadership training is important. Set up individual time with team members to see how they are doing mentally and emotionally. Encourage your team to have peer driven support groups to discuss concerns and find support in each other.
World Mental Health Day isn’t a celebration but a timely reminder of the little things making a huge impact. Whether in the workplace or outside of it, keeping your arm around a coworker and a loved one, and asking them how they feel can do a world of good. If you see someone fighting off stress, reach out and help.