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Mental Health at Work and the Role of HR

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Many tend to associate good health with only physical health. While eating right, exercising and making the right lifestyle choices do contribute to overall well-being, what we often neglect is our mental health. 

 

In recent years, Singapore has been running campaigns to fight the social stigma surrounding mental health issues. In my spare time I am a yoga instructor and mental health is a topic that has become close to my heart through working with my clients. A few of them have general anxiety disorder caused by stress from work, family issues and peer pressure. Very often, this leads to insomnia and other health issues indirectly related to stress. While it is important that we take responsibility and manage our physical and mental health, a good working environment plays a significant part in preventing any mental health issues.

 

A recent study reported that 1 in 7 people in Singapore have experienced a mental health issue in their lifetime. The Singapore Mental Health Study began in 2016 and is spearheaded by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). This figure shows that a mental health problem can affect anyone we see in day to day life, someone in our family, or circle of friends. 

 

Having a mental health issue is still considered a stigma and many of us do not voice it to our loved ones and even less so to our peers and superiors. While some people experiencing a problem will seek professional help, many keep it to themselves. This may happen to any of our colleagues in our company. 

 

HR professionals play a significant role in creating a safe space where employees are able to speak about their problems and can then be assisted wherever possible with their wellbeing. I believe that HR is at the heart of the company and is well positioned to assist and advise the workplace on how they can best help staff who are experiencing issues and educate the wider team. 

 

It is also critical to have compassionate leaders in the organisation who can prepare and coach a team to success rather than demand it. Openness and frequent engagement with employees builds confidence, trust and performance. This helps to foster a happy workforce where everyone feels heard.

 

I am proud to be part of the Elliott Scott HR family where we are able to, and are encouraged to, communicate often and openly with our colleagues and leaders. This makes me feel at ease and gives me the confidence to excel at work. In conjunction with a supportive work environment, I also maintain my wellbeing through my yoga practice which helps me to foster a healthy body and mind, enabling me to tackle my daily challenges.

 

I would be very interested in hearing how your workplace supports its employees or what you personally do in your life to look after your mental health. You can get in touch with me on LinkedIn or at hk@elliottscotthr.com 

 

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