Over the years, there has been a significant increase in research focusing on mental disorders and their treatments, along with rising awareness about mental health. However, there are still some common misconceptions and stereotypes associated with mental health and neurodiversity , and those diagnosed with them. Such misconceptions can result in stigma against people experiencing any such conditions, which can be very harmful, especially in areas like workplaces. All employees deserve to work in a safe and aware environment where they feel heard and are not excluded or ashamed of their conditions. In addition, promoting mental health awareness at work can increase productivity and reduce absenteeism of employees. Here are some myths vs facts about mental health in workplaces-
1. Myth: People experiencing mental health issues can be violent and are unsafe to be and work around.
Fact: This is a popular stereotype popularized by the media, when in reality, most people suffering from mental disorders and mental health issues are non-violent. Only a small subset of people suffering from severe cases of disorders have been identified to have higher rates of violence. However, these cases are only moderately higher compared to the violence rates of the general population. When given appropriate treatment, individuals with mental health issues and illness do not pose any increased risk of violence or threat to those around them.
2. Myth: Mental health problems are permanent, and one cannot return to work once diagnosed.
Fact: Each individual has a different experience with mental illness. The time taken and treatments used for the journey to recovery vary from person to person. There are many different treatments available today like therapy, medication, etc. With the appropriate help, people can and do recover from mental illness, and can learn how to manage their symptoms and return to their working lifestyle.
3. Myth: One should hide their mental health issues from their employers and co-workers as they will not receive any help from them.
Fact: While there is no obligation to inform one’s colleagues and supervisors about mental health issues, there is also no need to hide them or feel ashamed. Today, most workplaces offer resources and support that can help like counseling. Informed managers and employers can help negotiate more flexible timings and workload to suit one’s needs and capabilities at the time.
4. Myth: Inclusive policies are the only thing required for a workplace to be an inclusive environment to work in.
Fact: While having inclusive policies and company rules is the foundation for encouraging inclusivity for all employees experiencing mental health issues, it takes more than that for a workplace to be truly inclusive and aware. It is vital to be surrounded by colleagues and employers who are educated on mental disorders and their treatments, and who do not simply adhere to the policies because they have to. Being supportive of peers and empathetic about their mental health struggles are also vital for the collective environment and mindset of the organization to be inclusive for all employees and their needs. Hence, it is vital to combat such common misconceptions about mental health in order to ensure a safe, educated and inclusive working environment for all employees.
Newman, T. (2020, October 5) “Medical myths: Mental health misconceptions” medicalnewstoday.com
Canadian Mental Health Association (2016, February 27) “Myths About Mental Illness” cmha.com
https://cmha.ca/documents/myths-about-mental-illness MentalHealth.gov (2017, August 29) “Mental Health Myths and Facts mentalhealth.gov,
https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts Ganesh, L. (2019, March 3) “Workplace mental health: myths and facts” whiteswanfoundation.com,