Genetic and environmental factors combinedly contribute to a person's mental well-being. More than half of mental health issues result from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as a family's socioeconomic status or a traumatic experience.
Many factors contribute to a person's mental health, but not all have the same impact. Depressive disorders are decreased by 18 percent when the risk factor of work stress is purged, according to a study published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry.
The author of the study, Celso Arango, claims that stress—to a certain level— is positive for the body since it is the body's response to an alert, and the human body is accustomed to it. However, everything has a limit. Stress raises the neurotoxic hormone cortisol, and chronic, persistent stress eventually results in insomnia, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
The study evaluates the percentage of depressive diseases that could be avoided if a critical risk factor was addressed. It all depends on the specifics of the condition and the situation.
According to the findings, the incidence of schizophrenia might be decreased by 38% if childhood traumas such as abuse or neglect were avoided. Also, cases of Alzheimer's would be lowered by 15% in the future if physical activity was effectively and consistently practised.
The New York Times published an article on a survey of over 5,000 employees conducted in 2020 by Mental Health America. It found that 83% of those questioned reported feeling emotionally drained at work, and 71% strongly agreed that the workplace affects their mental health.
A poor work environment can drastically affect working morale. As a result, employees suffer from mediocre performance, health hazards, and a lack of effective communication, all of which can lead to dissatisfaction and stress.
Emotional and physical weariness, as well as a lack of personal fulfilment at work, contribute to mental exhaustion, which can lead to various alarming physiological disorders, including hypertension, diabetes, and other heart-related ailments, which are all linked to poor mental health.
According to research, denial is the first step toward mental malady since it is still taboo to admit to having a low mood or feeling depressed. This is where things become complicated: instead of speaking, you adopt a passive demeanour, which is when you start slipping down that slope. Thus, a feeling of despair, a loss of enjoyment, or the inability to appreciate things that once you enjoyed are the first steps toward depression.
Although cutting off work stress entirely is a utopian idea, evaluating your feelings, getting support and setting boundaries can help you stabilise your mental health and work efficiently with fun.
According to Dr Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist at Washington University, "everyone is aware to some extent of their baseline functioning at work." As a result, she said, if you start noticing that your interest in your work is waning or your productivity is dropping— something is wrong. Watch out for other symptoms such as "withdrawal", when a person isolates himself or does not dare to communicate or express his feelings, and a change in sleep pattern and other habits.
Ferret out the underlying causes poking you: is it the excessive workload, poor pay, harassment, or any other issues? A heavy workload could cause employee burnout, which can be a significant barrier to making meaningful contributions in your personal and professional life.
Besides, anxiety and depression are more common among workers who are underpaid, overworked and harassed in the workplace.
"Seek out support from a trusted friend, mentor, coworker, or therapist once you notice that you need support," said Inger Burnett-Zeigler, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Northwestern University. It would be best if you found a place "where you will be heard, and validated, where you can open up without fear of judgement or negative consequences," she said.
You can start an assertive conversation with your superiors to set your boundaries. Your employer will be interested in how your proposed solution will work in the context of your team, so be sure to think about that before talking to your supervisor about it. It will create a win-win situation for you and your employer by helping you with sound mental health and your company with more output. On the contrary, it is also okay to keep your issues private and discuss them with your therapist.