What is mental health?
NHS Health Scotland describes good mental
health as a:
“basic component of positive health and well-being. It is
necessary to help us manage our lives successfully, and
provide us with the emotional and spiritual resilience to allow
us to enjoy life and deal with distress and disappointment.”
‘Mental illness’ is a shorthand term for a variety of illnesses
that affect our mental well-being. It covers a range of symp-
toms and experiences.
Workplace health looks at 3 inter-related compo-
Individual Employees are an organisation’s key resource -
staff health & well being should be promoted at all times.
The Working Environment must be safe & healthy. Employ-
ees’ health & welfare must be protected, through risk asses-
sments & workplace policies.
The Organisational Structure can have a significant effect
on morale & on how employees feel about their work. Mana-
gement style, communication systems, training opportunities &
staff development all shape an organisation & therefore its
All 3 of these factors interact in a workplace and make it
the organisation that it is. A health at work programme
must target all 3 of these components.
An employee will work better & more productively in a
safe & healthy working environment, and in an organisa-
tion where they are valued. The Scotland's Health at Work
programme can provide a framework for workplace health
Stress is the second most repor-
ted work-related health prob-
lem, that affects 22% of work-
ers from EU 27 (in 2005).
And the number of people suffering
from stress-related conditions
caused or made worse by work is
likely to increase.
Definition and causes
People experience stress when they perceive that there is an
imbalance between the demands made of them and the
resources they have available to cope with those de-
mands. Though the experience of stress is psychological, stress
also affects people’s physical health.
Common factors in work-related stress
lack of control over work
unsuitable demands being made of workers
lack of support from colleagues and management
poor match between us and our work, poor relationships and presence of
psychological or physical violence at a workplace, and by conflicts between
our roles at work and outside it
abusive behavious in the workplace:
physically inappropriate behaviour
intruding on interpersonal space
*Reactions to the same circumstances vary between individuals.
Symptoms of work-related stress
At the organisation level:
absenteeism, high staff turnover, disciplinary problems, harassment, redu-
ced productivity, accidents, errors, and increased costs from compensation
or health care.
At the individual level:
- emotional reactions (irritability, anxiety, sleep problems, de
pression, alienation, burnout, family relationship problems);
- cognitive reactions (difficulty in concentrating, remembering,
learning new things, making decisions);
- behavioural reactions (abuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco;
- physiological reactions (back problems, weakened immunity,
Physical violence is one of the
most serious occupational ha-
zards. It covers insults, threats
or physical aggression. In 2005
4% of workers report being sub-
jected to actual physical violence
from members of the public in the
past twelve months.
includes the harmful treatment or putting of
harmful pressure on employee, often with
the intention and effect of inducing him/her
to leave. It has characteristics which com-
monly lead to claims of dismissal, for
example, lack of support of an employee by
Disturbing in speech
Loud reprimand (upominanie)
Limited ability of expressing own word
Criticism of somebody's work
Putting gossip around
Scoff at political and religion views
Giving performance which aren't appropriate for some-
Force to work overhours
Mobbing can lead to...
physical health damage
willingness to leave job
problems at home
having a breakdown
How to stop mobbing at workplace?
first the employer should be aware of the na-
ture of mobbing and its effect on employees
at all levels. He must have good systems for
monitoring and investigating the conduct of
employees at all levels and for timely con-
sultation and action without the need to wait
for employees to complain.
talk to the boss
go to court
Mobbing in the Workplace: Has This
Happened to You?
Workaholics will spend most of their lives at work
or taking work home with them. They will often
have little time for personal lives - family, hobbies,
We can say a person as workaholic is
person takes work with him to home and is engage in work during
weekends and vacation.
The only activity that he likes to and talks about is their work.
Workaholics work more than 40 hours a week.
Work makes them happier than anything else in their life.
Playtime is a big waste.
Their family or friends given up expecting them on time.
Many workaholics at work found as an energetic and competitive person,
while at home they are lethargic and depressed.
They believe that it is okay to work long hours and make no difference for
Many workaholics afraid that if they don't work hard they will lose their job
or be a failure.
Normally they found worried even when things are going very well.
They get irritated when people ask them to stop doing their work in order to
do something else.
They do not care about their long hours hurt their family or other
They always think about their work while driving, falling asleep or when
others are talking.
Some workaholics have a tendency to work or read during meals.
Burnout happens when people who have pre-
viously been highly committed to a job lose all
interest and motivation. Sadly, this can spell the
end of a successful career.
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and
physical exhaustion caused by excessive and
What causes of burn-out?
Feeling like you have little or no control over your
Lack of recognition or rewards for good work.
Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging.
Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment
Working too much, without enough time for relaxing
Taking on too many responsibilities, without eno-
ugh help from others
Not getting enough sleep
Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
You may be on the road to burnout if:
Every day is a bad day.
Caring about your work or home life seems like
a total waste of energy.
You’re exhausted all the time.
The majority of your day is spent on tasks you
find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhel-
You feel like nothing you do makes a difference
or is appreciated.
Advice for employees
Factors to consider in relation to work-related stress
- the atmosphere (or ‘culture’) in your workplace and how stress
- the demands that are placed on you, and the hazards you are
- how much control you have in how you do your job;
- how clear you are on what your job is;
- what support you receive from colleagues and managers, and
- what training you are given to do your job.
Actions that you can take to keep safe from stress
asking for more responsibility in planning your own work;
asking to be involved in decision-making about your area of
talking to your manager, employee representative, or other
supportive colleague if you think you are being harassed, and
keep a record of what has happened;
talking to your manager if your job responsibilities are not
asking for training if you feel you need it, and
talking to your manager or employee representative if you
begin to feel that you can’t cope.
Advice for employers
The charity Mentality have produced “A toolkit for Mental Health Promotion
in the workplace” which looks at practical steps for addressing mental he-
alth in the workplace. The toolkit contains the following suggestions:
PROMOTING the mental health and well-being of all staff
- recognising that all staff have mental health needs
- raising awareness of what people can do to look after their own and
- others’ mental well-being
- identifying and addressing the factors that affect mental health in the
Offering assistance, advice and SUPPORT. This should in-
- building a working culture in which mental health issues are not taboo
- providing support options which are confidential and non-stigmatising
- employment practices should be reviewed to ensure that staff with a hi
story of mental health problems are not excluded.
It might surprise some employers that a staff member who has
experienced mental illness such as depression, for example, can
be an asset. They often have a better understanding of their
own strengths and weaknesses, and can help and support other
members of staff with similar problems.
Employers have an obligation to manage work-related
stress, through the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC,
which deals with health and safety in the EU
Your employer has a legal duty
to protect your health and safety
at work, including protecting you
against the effects of stress. Your
employer should identify the causes
of work-related stress, assess the
risks and take preventive action be-
fore you become ill.