Why it's so important
About the topic
Why it’s important to talk about mental health…
Work-related psychosocial risks and stress are considered a new and emerging area of Occupational Safety & Health (OSH), with the awareness about their importance growing. The challenges associated with this issue are multifaceted, especially in the context of today’s changing world of work, including digitalisation, remote working and new forms of contractual relationships. While research shows that stress factors outside of the workplace contribute to mental ill-health, there are many risk factors for mental health that may be present in the working environment. Most risks relate to interactions between type of work, the Organisational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of employees, and the support available for employees to carry out their work.
There is increased awareness that work is generally good for you, contributing positively to personal, financial and social need and growing awareness that (long-term) unemployment is harmful to physical and mental health. While it is clear that work is good for mental health, a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental ill-health. A relationship between psychosocial work environment and accidents has also been indicated.
Features of working life that are known to promote mental health and wellbeing include;
• Being valued at work
• Having meaningful work
• Being able to make decisions on issues that affect you
• Being adequately trained for the work that you do
• Having the resources you need to do the work
• Having a job that is well designed, i.e. not overloaded
• Having work that is well organised in terms of work schedules and time off.
Recent reviews indicate that physical and mental health are interrelated, and psychosocial risks that may cause mental ill-health are related to other physical health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.