Debates on mental health in workplaces has taken center stage in the recent past with calls being made to ensure that organizations formulate and implement an organizational policy to deal with mental health in the work places. One of the major causes of mental health illness is workplace stress therefore controlling such stress may be effective in reducing cases of mental health problems in organizations as well as the high costs associated with mental health treatment (Berry, 2005).
In Joanne’s case, before she was hired for the job she had already made the management know that she was suffering from bi-polar depression and therefore any from of anxiety and stress could have rejuvenated the depression causing it to worsen. However, the management did not take measures to ensure that Joanne’s depression did not resurface while at the organization due to work related stress. One of the major causes that caused Joanne’s depression is lack of adequate training on her new tasks.
As mentioned in the case, the employers assumed that the previous experience of Joanne could help her perform her current duties. Based on her past performance, a lot was expected from her by the company. Lack of guidance and training on how to perform her new tasks caused anxiety as Joanne could not meet expectations of the company. Lack of training on how to carry out her new task and also the high expectations that the company was having on her performance were the major causes of Joanne’s stress which later amounted to depression (Mind week report, 2005).
Today, most of the organizations do not have a policy regarding workplace stress handling which have led to high labor turnover in most of the countries. Once a person goes through a work related depression like Joanne did, fear may be developed in such a person thus leading to long term effects on the self esteem of such an individual. An organization should ensure that there is a policy to handle stress related issues as they may arise. While formulating a mental health policy for the organization, a company or an organization should ensure that workers are consulted and also the policy communicated to them.
One means of reducing job related stress is by ensuring that the environment in which work or tasks are being performed is conducive and appropriate. Ensuring that employees are comfortable while carrying out their tasks can help in reducing cases of work related depression thus labor turnover (Chopra, 2009). An organizational policy for mental health promotion • Work related stress and depression refers to any work related mental discomfort and instability which makes a person view a problem as being unsolvable and the problem being too difficult to handle it.
It is anything that raises anxiety in the workplace to an extent that a person’s task performance becomes ineffective and/ or his social life becomes impaired or disillusioned. • The purpose of this mental health policy is to ensure that work related stress are reduced in the organization by implementing control measures to reduce work overload as well as other stimulants which may lead to work related stress. • The management is responsible for ensuring that all workers employed are working in conducive and stress free environment to ensure that cases of depression do not arise.
• All workers who have a history of depressions and chronic stress will be assigned duties which are not likely to raise or create anxiety. • The management will conduct regular training of all employees on issue regarding to mental health, prevention and ways to get help in cases one is experiencing work related stress. • The management would also aid workers who could be having or experiencing work related stress and depression help which ranges from temporary leave to medical attention services.
• Workers especially those with mental health disorders records will also be allowed to take charge of performing their tasks in the organization and adequate guidance will be granted to them by their supervisors. This will however be done after careful consultation with the management. • To reduce work related stress emanating from lack of experience to perform tasks, all newly recruited workers as well as workers changing positions will be given training on how to handle their tasks which will be followed by supervision during the first few weeks on the job.
• The organization offers flexible working hours especially in workplaces more likely to be vulnerable to stress due to the tasks performed in them. • It is the duty of the employees to ensure that they take reasonable care to avoid any stressing situations arising. Also, in case of perceived environment or situation which may lead to work related stress, the employees are required to report to the management for necessary measures to be taken.
While formulating a mental health management policy in an organization, it is vital to ensure that it is in line with employment laws and regulations in operation in a particular place. Almost all countries have an equality employment act which if not implemented by an organization; it may lead to illegality in the part of the business (McLeod, 2005). Under the 1998 Irish employment equality act, all individuals with disabilities should be accorded the right conditions as long as they are competent like other individuals to enable them perform their tasks efficiently.
The policy of the organizations that workers with a history of mental health disorder should be assigned tasks in areas which are less likely to raise the level of stress to ensure that they are capable of performing their task is thus in line with this employment equality act thus ensuring that the company is in line with the labor laws. It is the obligation of the employer to ensue that workers are provided with the right conditions to enable them perform their tasks efficiently (Wood, n. d).
The Irish employment equality act also stipulates that it is the obligation to the employer to ensure that for all the employees with disabilities are provided with special treatment so as to accommodate them within the working arena. Usually, individuals who are more vulnerable to work related stress are people who have a history of depression or who have diagnosed with bi-polar and other stress related conditions. Providing such individuals with flexible working time schedules would enable them maintain and control depression.
The above policy is thus operating within the boundaries of the employment equality labor laws of Ireland (Wood, n. d). Under the 2005 act of safety, heath and work welfare it is mandatory for any organization to ensure that all recruited individuals are given adequate training to enable them carry out their duties effectively. One major causes of work stress is lack of training on task performance especially when a person is newly recruited like in the case of Joanne. Inclusion of a training program in the organization’s mental health policy could thus be vital in helping the company comply with this safety labor act.
Also, it is a requirement of the Irish employment equality act that employees should be provided with training facilities especially after introduction of different systems of performing tasks as well as new equipments. New systems usually lead to anxiety which may lead to depression or stress. The training policy above would thus be in line with this requirement (McLeod, 2005). Workers have a responsibility of ensuring they cooperating with the employer to enable the employers fulfill their statutory obligations.
Reporting circumstances which may lead to work related stress is thus a duty which workers should carry out as stipulated by the policy above. This is also a requirement under the employment equality act of the year 2005 (Mind week report, 2005). Reference: Berry, M. (2005): Workplace stress costs UK ? 100bn a year. Retrieved on 10th April 2009 from, http://www. personneltoday. com/articles/2005/05/16/29927/workplace-stress-costs-uk-100bn-a-year. html Chopra, P. (2009): Mental health and the workplace: issues for developing countries. International Journal of Mental Health Systems
McLeod, J. (2005): Planning, monitoring and evaluating mental health promotion. Retrieved on 10th April 2009 from, http://www. vichealth. vic. gov. au/~/media/ProgramsandProjects/MentalHealthandWellBeing/Publications/Attachments/Mental_Health_Mapping_Tool. ashx. Mind week report (2005): Stress and health in the workplace. Retrieved on 10th April 2009 from, http://www. mind. org. uk/NR/rdonlyres/ABA10B9A-8257-42D8-86AD-BC4F80CE6E2C/0/Reportv6. pdf Wood, k. (n. d): Irish Employment Law. Retrieved on 10th April 2009 from, http://irishbarrister. com/employment. html.