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The responsibility of mental health issues in the workplace

Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

“The typical time off work for a work-related mental disorder claim is 15.7 weeks, three times higher than for all other compensation claims. Work pressure, work related harassment or bullying, and exposure to workplace or occupational violence are all significant causes of work-related mental disorders.“ Taken from www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au.

The workplace is not unlike the school system - it seems to be increasingly the problem of both to assist the emotional health issues of it’s participants. Somewhere along the line, teachers needed to not only teach but placate the troubled children before them (without the psychologists’ pay packet). Companies have legally followed suit in ensuring that mental health days are included in our personal benefits, and rightly so, with mental health on par with physical health benefits.

However, the inclusion of mental health in the western arena of well-being is fairly new and not well understood. It has simply come to accept that the mind can distort perception to the point of dis-ease, namely, depression and anxiety issues to the extreme cases such as schizophrenia. However, as beyond blue makes clear, it is more about wellness rather than illness, citing the World Health Organization’s as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

We understand that our prospective employees have the technical skills required to do the job, but have they spent the time and taken responsibility for their mental (and physical) well-being.

  • Have they learned how to adapt to changing circumstances with grace.

  • Are they more focused on the project being done well or needing the credit?

  • Do they show consistency in their output or do their results come in spurts?

  • Do they know how to delegate when they see another with better skills than they do?

  • Do they have the potential to mentor and therefore make themselves available for more developed work?

  • Do they know how to relax?

  • What is their definition of satisfaction?

  • Do they consider a positive state of mind important in their daily interactions?

These should be considered assets too.

Ensuring your workforce comes with mental fortitude, equanimity and an open perspective can be difficult to detect in an interview. It is also illegal to ask questions about the health history and habits of a participant unless it is specifically connected to the work involved but you can work on the skills required in yourself to be able to detect them in another.

It starts with you

It takes one to know one. This adage is usually used for projecting negative traits in another (set a thief to catch a thief), however the essence remains the same in a positive sense. Employee assessment forms assume the manager conducting the assessment is well versed in the traits desired by the company culture. If the culture regularly addresses human qualities as part of it’s non financial performance review, then it’s possible.

But usually it’s lip service.

It takes little talent to see what lies under one’s nose, a good deal to know what direction to point that organ. - W.H.Auden

Companies spend an inordinate amount of money hiring too many managers and creating too many internal controls because of the essence of trust, creating an environment of fear and setting up the system to fail. However, if you don’t understand what kind of actions positive traits result in, then you may not know the questions to ask or what to look for.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, we believe that each individual is responsible for ensuring they strive towards a life of balance themselves, to ideally be enhanced by the environment they spend time in.

Ayurveda and the Mind

Vata (movement) - the positive traits are enthusiasm, creativity, easy forgiveness, sees the bigger picture. The subtle form of Vata is called Prana, or vitality, and applies more directly to the mind. Due to it’s natural lightness, or prana, This body type does well to provide regular comfort and slowness to it’s life. Too much running around and frenzy can cause insomnia, fear and loneliness.

Pitta (transformation) - the positive traits are discernment, comprehension, manifestation, ability to see the truth. The subtle form of Pitta is Tejas, or discernment. Due to it’s natural heat, this body type does well to include playfulness and non-competiveness to it’s life. Too much intensity and striving can cause anger, judgement and a sharp tongue.

Kapha (structure) - the positive traits are loyalty, reliability, unconditional love, contentment. The subtle form of Kapha is Ojas, or immunity. Due to it’s natural heaviness and coolness, this body type does well to include a lot of movement to it’s life. Too much sedentary living and hording can cause laziness, heavy depression and stubbornness.

Assessing Others

EYES- When there is strong Prana (Vata) there is a natural brightness to the eyes, light appears to emit from the eyes. Tejas (Pitta) shows as a focused gaze and a feeling they are eating every word you say, and Ojas (Kapha) looks strong and settled.

SPEECH- Strong Prana (Vata) will reveal as a positive tone that makes you feel energised, Tejas (Pitta) comes through as clear speech and articulate, Ojas (Kapha) comes through as considered and melodic in tone.

BODY MOVEMENTS - Prana (Vata) represents as co-ordinated and graceful in movement, Tejas (Pitta) shows as firm and direct in their walk, Ojas (Kapha) shows as calm and grounded and slow.

OVERALL POSITIVE TRAITS - Prana (Vata) feels like enthusiasm. Tejas (Pitta) feels like clarity. Ojas (Kapha) feels supportive.

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Focus on body type, not gender, for leaderships qualities