Looking after women’s mental health at the workplace is now more important than ever

Women, even if they work outdoors, are always seen through the lens of the standards set by the society which require her to live up to them. She has to compromise on her well-being, her mental health.

While the conditions of mental health remain more or less the same for everyone on an overall basis, for women it is significantly more distressing when in a working environment. Most of the times, they are linked to gender roles and stereotypes.

There stand a lot of challenges demanding a lot from women. In terms of mental health, they are more prone to depression, generalised anxiety disorder, PTSD and eating disorders. Low wages, responsibilities of caregiving and gender-based violence are the major risk factors.

A woman’s role is not just seen as an employee or in charge in a workplace, with that come along her roles as a mother, daughter, her role in the society. She is underrepresented at the workplace, has to juggle the duties of the household as well, all the while keeping in mind that her profession requires equal attention.

In most of the cases, she is reluctant to discuss the challenges she would be facing.

Adding to it, in most of the organisations, the stuctures and models of working are made by keeping men in mind. It then becomes necessary to a woman to prove herself that she is no less. In such a case, she would hesitate to disclose if she would be facing any issues regarding mental health.

Women have to realise that their mental health matters

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It is women themselves who have to recognise first of all that their well-being is as important as the norms which they has to live by. Then only, can they raise their voices and ensure a working environment which would guarantee them support during difficult times along with cooperation.

Firstly, think about the state of the mental health or the challenge you would be facing, whether they are persistent or not. Then, move on to what the reason could be, if they stand in relation to work. What is it that makes the problem difficult to be shared with anyone ? There should be clarity about how the problem would be affecting you, is it affecting your well-being and your performance at the workplace.

You can talk to people whom you can trust and would feel comfortable in sharing what bothers you. They can be people such as your friends, family or a therapist. If possible, try looking for accommodating your services such as suitable working hours.

Observe the culture at the organisation. There can be some people present who would adhere to your concerns and if you would express them, the organisation would be willing to cooperate.

There is no need to compromise your mental health in order to get a job. It’s fine for you to prioritise mental health along with the job and not take it up if you feel it is being jeopardised.

In 2021, a report on mental health at the workplace stated that women are less likely to think of their working environment as positive than men.

A study conducted by Deloitte stated that women who work for gender-inclusive organisations have comparatively high levels of mental well-being.

Organisations have to play a major role in prioritising mental health

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Companies now have to realise that a healthy state of mind will enhance the working environment as well as the results. Every individual is different from the other, so there should be same level of understanding. Prioritising mental well-being for the purpose, becomes important.

Workshops should be organised that would educate employees about potential factors that can cause stress and deteriorate mental health. This should be done along with basic knowledge of mental well-being, should bust myths and ensure that the workplace would be cooperative during complex times.

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