Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men, and it can occur at any given age
In this article, we discuss how employers and co-workers can support each other’s mental well-being in the workplace.
The pandemic has played a major role in employees’ mental well-being. A report by McKinsey’s Center for Societal Benefit through Healthcare indicates that almost a third of employee respondents reported symptoms of anxiety, burnout, and depression.
Female employees indicated that returning to work will have a significant impact on their mental health, as they worry that they would have less flexibility to set their own schedules upon returning to work.
Studies have found that inherited traits, personal life circumstances, and experiences are factors in the high rates of depression and anxiety among women. This includes puberty, premenstrual problems, pregnancy, postpartum depression, perimenopause, menopause, and culture.
Women’s mental health in the workplace
Women tend to need additional support in the workplace to manage unexpected circumstances, which is essential for their mental well-being and not only for career success. Particular situations affect women differently than men, which is generally true in how society treats them as workers.
Career-driven women have reported that they feel they should work twice as hard as men to move up the corporate ladder, let alone the gender pay gap between men and women. This burden leads to an increase in stress, depression, and anxiety levels. With this said, how can management help support women’s mental health in the workplace?
There are several ways to support women’s mental health in the office. Here we have listed the top 3 ways to help support them in the workplace, and as you keep reading, you will find other ways that may help support women’s mental well-being.
Address any types of harassment:
Firstly, they should find ways to address the workplace inequities that impact women based on gender, race, or ethnicity. Doing this can help achieve a better balance on how the harassment claims are being managed, encouraging women to feel at ease to come forward and report such incidents should they occur in the workplace.
Decrease the pay gaps:
The pay gap between men and women has been wide apart and unequal for many years. Measure the gaps between genders in the company and address the pay gap where it is existent. In contrast, equal pay can make women feel more validated, which can lower the levels of depression, stress, and anxiety in the workplace.
Mental health support benefits:
The treatment of mental health is often difficult to overcome, but it is treatable. Providing the correct tools can help decrease those difficulties, such as providing mental health counselling within the workplace and resources on navigating professional and personal development.
5 Ways women can improve their mental health and how families can support them
As mentioned, there are many ways to manage your mental well-being. However, it is best to remember that what works for one woman may not work for the other. In other words, focus on ways for yourself based on your interests instead of using an activity because it worked for someone else.
Here are five listed recommendations you can begin with:
- Get some fresh air for at least 15 minutes a day. You can go for a short walk or even rest on a patch of grass and gain some sunshine – this has helped to boost moods and elevate calmness.
- Take time away from technology like smartphones, laptops, etc. Doing this can bring about relaxation and real-life reconnection, not to mention some time to breathe from the continuous messages and notifications of social media.
- Create a tribe, a circle of friends, family or even other women that face the same challenges, or work in a similar environment. Having a tribe can help women build the confidence to speak out about what they face daily, feel supported by others facing the same or similar situations, and regain advice on approaching certain challenges.
- Focus some time on yourself and your mental well-being. Taking a step back from ongoing daily responsibilities helps to elevate rest and rejuvenation that helps to reduce the levels of anxiety.
- Recognise that it is okay for other people to have their own opinions that are different to yours and not to take them personally. Furthermore, learn to forgive others as well as yourself and let go of resentment. It has proven to boost mental health and elevate satisfaction with life.
Families supporting women with mental health can help them cope better with the positive impact they provide. Family members should show their support by asking how they are, women may want to talk about it, and they may not.
However, just letting them know that they don’t have to avoid the issue with you is vital and spending time with them lets them know that you are there for them and that you care.
Doing so can also help to understand what they are going through. Asking them how you can help can be useful to show your support, and remember to be open-minded, non-judgmental and listen to what they have to say. Avoid using phrases like “cheer up” or “It’ll pass”, as these phrases don’t help and lower their moods.
Instead, use phrases like “I am here” or “let us do something”, as this may help boost their mental health. Additionally, try also to avoid only talking about mental health. Remember that’s only one aspect of their life; most women don’t want to be defined by their mental well-being, so rather keep talking about other interests.