Why Mental Health Is as Important as Physical Safety


It’s easier to deal with problems we can see. The structure of business makes measurable problems much more obvious (and therefore, simpler to fix) than the ones that manifest in subtler ways. It’s the logic of balance sheets and algorithms.

Take safety. Physical safety hazards are relatively easy to identify and correct. They may prove expensive to fix, but at least you can find them.

Mental health is more elusive. By definition, it exists inside people’s heads. But while the signs might not show up as obviously as, say, a leaky 55-gallon drum or a precarious ladder, it can still cause discernable problems … the kind that show up on the bottom line.

Mental issues can range from relatively low grade (workers getting stressed or exhausted) to more serious situations (employees finding themselves overwhelmed or miserable in their positions) to serious medical issues (clinical depression). Whatever the case, these mental conditions cause suffering for the employee involved and can impact your overall business as well.

Missed Days

Just like a physical injury, mental issues can lead to absences from work. These can include short stints, like a frustrated employee calling in sick just because they don’t want to deal with work. But it can also include long absences, and even lead to workers’ comp claims.

Things like clinical depression can weigh heavily on an employee. A broken leg may be more obvious, but mental health issues have as much potential to impact a worker, both personally and in the way they conduct their work.

Lowered Productivity

Even if a mental health problem doesn’t get bad enough to cause an employee to miss work, it can still cut into output. A distracted or depressed employee will have trouble concentrating. They might perform their duties more slowly than they normally would, leading them to miss output quotas. Or they might end up making more mistakes.

In addition, a mental health issue can become a hazard to physical safety as well. A distracted worker is more likely to ignore important safety protocol, putting themselves and others at risk for one of those more obvious injuries.

Impact on Morale

A single employee’s mental situation ripples outward to their co-workers. If someone’s depressed or frustrated, others will pick up on it. It can become infectious.

In this way, the mental health of an individual worker can become central to the overall morale of the office. It makes it important to keep everyone as upbeat and happy as possible. It also provides an incentive to treat mental health issues as seriously as you treat those related to physical safety.

Keeping your staff mentally fit becomes easier when you have the right employees. Energetic, competent and upbeat employees help secure morale and efficiency, and raise the overall safety profile of your company – both mental and physical.

Partnering with a good recruiter, like DHR, makes finding these kinds of employees simple. Contact DHR today to find out what they can do to maximize your staff.

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