It is becoming clear that fast-paced companies, especially start-ups have employers and employees who may be burning out. Stress due to rigid employment culture, inequality both overt and covert, stigma around mental health issues, and a helpless feeling that “nothing is ever going to change.” The following stats are from https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/workplace-wellness :
- Less than one-third of Americans are happy with their work.
- Half of the workforce is “checked-out.”
- Eighteen percent are unhappy with their current position with some even sabotaging the success of their workplace.
Stress and workplace distress can contribute to physical, mental, and cognitive health issues. It is clear that companies that moving towards honoring these issues are going to have happier and more productive employees. According to the Mind the Workplace Report (2019) by Mental Health America, support and guidance provided by employers to their employees will help boost general employee moral and motivation towards higher job performance levels. Additionally, an employment culture that is open and welcoming of employee feedback and is in a sense “employee-centric” can truly empower employees to feel not only enthusiastic about their job experience but also to feel a sense of kinship and attachment to their companies.
Mental health problems and stress has has been found to be a huge issue among law firms as well, due to the higher rates of substance abuse and anxiety among lawyers. In 2016, the American Society of Addiction Medicine published a blockbuster study on the topic of mental health among lawyers. Based on interviews with 12,825 lawyers across the United States, it showed that the rate of depression had skyrocketed to 28 percent. It also found that 19 percent of lawyers have anxiety, a condition that afflicts 12 percent of all adults. In 2018, the American Bar Association (ABA) Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession created a pledge which requests legal employers to work on specific goals of educating and raising awareness on mental health issues and well-being as well as taking steps towards tackling the issues of mental health and substance abuse in the legal profession. This came a year after the release of a survey that found that around 21% of lawyers and judges who responded reported problematic alcohol use, 28% had experienced depression, and 19% who reported experiencing anxiety and stress. This survey was conducted by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. The pledge encouraged legal employers to create awareness and understanding of mental health issues, foster help-seeking behaviors, provided confidential access to mental health professionals as well as free access to in-house self-assessment tools etc.
These programs are huge, incredible steps towards instituting cultural change in a system. It is clear that improving top-down communication, increasing awareness and empathy of mental health issues, and encouraging self-care is a win-win for all concerned. Mental Health professionals, such as psychologists, can help foster such dynamics as we work to create positive changes in systems, find blocks in communication and teach mindfulness strategies, conflict resolution, stress management, mental health awareness and education, among many other empowering tools. I am offering such programs and sessions at this time. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 267-991-0108 for further details. I look forward to helping you and your organization find healthy ways of empowering and motivating employers and employees alike.