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We need to talk about mental health at work



After completing college, Brittany King went through a new job every six to twelve months. "I could not find my groove," says the 32-year-old. "I just thought I got bad jobs, I would sit for hours and do nothing, what I produced was sloppy, I was often invited to meetings to discuss my bad habits, I hated it." The cycle almost lasted five years until she started seeing a psychiatrist. Then she discovered what had really happened: "I had experienced depression," she says.

"It was like being handcuffed – physically and mentally – my undiagnosed depression kept me in a fog." King is now a successful career coach. "When the fog is cleared from my life, I can help others find work that they love," she says.

Today we are more open than ever. But we rarely discuss how things like depression and anxiety affect our working lives. So, Glamor has teamed up with the Health and Wellness Site Thrive Global and SurveyMonkey to ask more than 1300 women about how mental health problems – theirs or that of a colleague – affect their careers and enjoyment in the workplace.

What did we find? As many as 28 percent of respondents said that their mental health problems impaired their ability to fulfill their role. (That's more than the 22 percent of women who have a diagnosed mental health National Institute of Mental Health – a sign of how many can go without a proper diagnosis.)

"That is at every socio-economic and professional level, from the bottom up to CEOs, "says Dr. Beth Salcedo, MD, President of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . As many as 58 percent of our respondents said they felt stressed over half of their working time. And many women do not feel they have someone to turn to in difficult times. Fifty-three percent of women said they did not feel comfortable when they felt anxious or depressed. Two out of three women said they did not feel their mental well-being was much supported by their employer. Conclusion: women suffer, often they suffer alone.

Many factors contribute to mental health issues, but for some women, work is the problem. "We work more, we work harder, and the energy reserves we need to deal with stress are gone," says Dr. Salcedo. In other words, the way work spills over into every aspect of our lives clearly influences how we handle it.

How can you take care of yourself when things in the office feel overwhelming? What can you do if an employee has difficulties and interferes with your work? Glamor called the experts

Why work has to do with our mental health

The most obvious reason is the madness that exists. "What is expected of an average worker today would have been expected by three people thirteen years ago," says Theresa Nguyen, Vice President of Policy and Programs at Mental Health America . "People feel they have to do things, it's all about them, and it's very stressful."

But although the mountain of tasks can provoke feelings of fear and isolation, some experts argue that it is the people you work with that are the most stressful. "When I start talking to my patients, stress at work is almost always the first thing that comes up," says Julie Holland, M.D., psychiatrist in New York City. "But they really talk about interpersonal pressures – people who are pulling each other in the wrong direction and dealing with toxic personalities." Even an interaction with a tough colleague can cause anxiety.

"For example, when a nurse is afraid The doctor she is reporting to, and she knows she will have an upcoming meeting, which may affect her clear thoughts throughout the day," says Robin Stern, Ph.D. , Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence ] and author of The Gaslight Effect .

"Despite the fact that we are talking so much about the work-life balance now, we clearly do not achieve that," says Dr. Nestler. [19659031] That does not mean that your workplace is bad by definition when it's high octane. "Some stress is good: it keeps us sharp and focused," says Eric Nestler, MD, director of the Friedman Brain Institute and a member of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation . But recognizing when anxiety, stress, or depression becomes too problematic can be difficult for women and their doctors.

"If you feared you had diabetes, you would get a glucose test." Nestler. "We have nothing that is black and white in psychiatry."

King was unaware that she had a problem until she felt she could not get up every day – her depression had become so bad. Dr. Nestler says it's time to seek help if you have difficulty completing tasks and difficulties eating or sleeping, or lose interest in living outside of work.

What Younger Women Can Teach Us

19659039] While 28 percent of women in our survey said their mental health had affected their job, 41 percent of the 18-29 women felt in this regard. But experts do not believe that women are doing worse at this age. "Young women are more willing to acknowledge these issues, and they have the language to talk about them," says Drs. Nestler. Dr. Holland: "It's one of the strange side effects of social media: it makes people more comfortable to reveal their diagnoses, and Millennials seem to have a broader interpretation of what" mental health "means [beyond the clinical]."

Dr. Nestler thinks that's a good thing; When women talk about their struggles with friends (virtual or IRL), they are more willing to talk to a boss, a colleague or, if necessary, a professional about it.

Sometimes, talking about someone else's mental health is not your own. Almost a quarter of the women we interviewed said they were affected by someone else's mental health problems at work. It can be difficult to ask someone for help. If you suspect that someone you are working with has difficulty, open the door by saying, "It seems like you have a hard time, I would like to help find resources," says Dr. Salcedo. And remind her that you are a team. "We all work towards common goals," says Theresa Nguyen of Mental Health America. "They also want to achieve these goals, and they feel guilty [if they’re not contributing] so let's say:" Let's talk about what we can do together to still produce what we want. " # 39;

All The experts emphasized that support is crucial, but perhaps not surprisingly, the workplace is an area where this type of support is often lacking. Gallup's survey on the state of the US labor market [19659044] from 2017 revealed that only 40 percent of employees felt that someone in their job was looking after them as a person, feelings of isolation are just viburnum: "From our research, we know that people who join in feeling isolated from work, having the most stress in the workplace, "says Nguyen.

Julin DiNicola, 29, was a happy woman who felt supported by her office. Profit Organization said goodbye to coping with her depression, she said her team was fantastic. "I told them: & # 39; I'm not fully present at work, and hopefully, I'll do my best to take a minute before I come back." They were totally understanding, "she says. "I think it's so important to be honest with your colleagues and have colleagues who get it – they know if I have a bad day, it's really helpful."

So how do you talk about it?

First, recognize your rights. "It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because you have a mental health condition," says Arielle B. Kristan, a lawyer at the law firm Hirsch Roberts Weinstein. "Your company can not dismiss you, deny you promotion, or force you to take vacation because of her." (This is true even if they only suspect that you have an illness but are not sure.) Under the Disabled Americans Act, employees also have the right to certain accommodations – such as a modified work plan, long-distance work arrangements, or leisure time for treatment – for employees with any mental states that "considerably limit one or more major life activities." [19659050] Most companies with more than 250 employees have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers free counseling sessions. Do not be afraid to ask HR if you need help with navigation. "If you have good HR representation and are doing what you want them to do, you should never be afraid of retaliation," says Hopkins.

And do not wait. "Employees usually express concerns only in a performance evaluation," says Leslie L. Wilson, vice president for workplace initiatives at U.S. Business Leadership Network . But you can – and should – create challenges when they arise.

"People do not report enough when their environment causes them stress," says Dr. Holland. It is not uncommon for management to be unaware that something is wrong until somebody raises a flag – even if you feel that it should be obvious, for example because you are visibly lagging behind in your work. Many people work with 150 percent capacity. As this capacity decreases, it does affect your work but is not necessarily noticed by others, "says Dr. Salcedo," so it still has to be focused on the attention of your boss or hiring manager. "

Even if it's a scary one Wilson emphasizes that most managers really want to improve the situation. "Mental health is fast becoming a major cause of sick leave," she says. "One company I worked with found that number one Recipe that was well paid for their health plan, Prozac was. When people are not at their best, it affects the bottom line in many ways. Good companies are involved and affected. "If that's not important to you, it might be time to look for someone who does that."

Next step: Ask for feedback. "Sometimes asking how you feel [at work] can lower the stress level," Dr. Holland says, "For many of my patients, anxiety comes from worrying about what might happen or not; It's rarely about what's really true. "Christy Hopkins, CEO of 4 Point Consulting, an on-demand recruitment and recruitment consultancy, agrees," One of the things we hear all the time is: I feel so much better that someone has listened to me. (Supervisors who read this note.)

Hopkins recommends that you do not use clinical terms with your boss unless you have been diagnosed (ie, do not say "I'm depressed" if you do not get it) have treatment for it, as it might seem that you are trying to exploit them.) Instead, focus on getting ahead. "Say something like," I have some stressors. I do my best not to let my work be influenced, but if you see something, please be aware of it & # 39 ;, says Hopkins, "If your boss says she already sees it, you'll take over the property." Attempt & # 39 ;, I take responsibility for it. I'll fix that by doing X, Y, Z, but do you have any other ideas? "" Hopkins adds. And make a plan to talk again to check your progress. (It can also help figure out patterns in your anxiety or depression by writing down stressors the moment you see what might soothe them.)

If you've diagnosed something and want to tell your supervisor, bring any documentation with (as a letter from a psychiatrist) and try to let the paperwork speak. You can also bring ideas that you think could make you more effective at work – King suggested teleworking and noticed a difference on the first day.

"I knew I had to do something to alleviate my depression, work helped me not only to lie in bed, but by working from home, the burden of acting for others was taken away" she says, "I did not have to smile or brush my hair, which may seem small to other people, but it was huge for me."

deals with relationships that could add to your stress. You can not always avoid difficult people, but Dr. Salcedo says you should try to refresh your emotional reserves by protecting your downtime: you leave at the same time every day or just answer emergency emails after work. If your manager is the problem, Hopkins suggests HR. (Try this script: "I feel like my department needs help, and I need advice.")

Making a note when someone does something that triggers them can also help, even if only for your inner peace is. "It can feel a lot better," says Hopkins. "Once you've done things, you can let go." Then you can focus on the work you love – and that's not what it's about.


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