The Way We Talk About Stress
Although we are often stressed, overwhelmed, discouraged or worried about outcomes at work we rarely categorize them as mental health concerns. Did you know that the very words used to describe our workplace experiences are the same ones used to define common challenges such as anxiety and depression? While “stress” is often a blanketed expression, it has physical (how we behave), emotional (how we feel), and psychological (how we think) implications.
By ignoring, overlooking, or inadequately addressing these areas, we can expect many of the following outcomes:
- People Issues: Disengagement*, increased communication issues, conflict, increased injuries and avoidable mistakes, absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover and burnout
- Environment Issues:Excessive complaining, dissatisfaction, decreased motivation and teamwork
- Financial Issues: Loss in productivity, increasing indirect costs, overall instability
- Physical Issues: Hypertension, headaches, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, shifts in energy levels, develop new health issues, exacerbating existing health issues, increased medications (and oftentimes side effects), comorbidity
- Patient Issues: Decreased quality of service delivery
- Overall Company/Practice Issues: Diminished reputation that may discourage new patients or potential hires
- Healthcare Industry Issues: Rising healthcare costs due to excessive use of healthcare services. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America individuals with anxiety disorders are 3-5xs more likely to go to the doctor.
In our respective roles as consultants, managers, and healthcare professionals we all share a responsibility as leaders to adequately address the far-reaching damage caused by unaddressed mental health issues in the workplace. Learn more about how to recognize, respond, and minimize these issues in your workplace, and those of the clients you support.
*According to Gallup study, staff disengagement costs U.S. companies $450-$550 Billion in lost productivity per year.