You will likely experience a mental health challenge at some point in your life or during a prevailing situation in Sri Lanka. Recognizing this possibility should motivate you to be a workplace friend for mental health, and to treat your colleagues dealing with mental health issues with the empathy you would want under similar circumstances.
Some of the most effective ways you can be a mental health friend are to talk one on one with colleagues who are struggling, use supportive language, educate yourself and colleagues about mental health, encourage group engagement, and create policies that help employees who need it.
To be a mental health ally at work is to help those struggling with mental health issues feel valued and needed. This can have positive long-term benefits, including increased employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty. Strengthening and deepening relationships between colleagues can also benefit the broader employee community. When we’re supported, we’re also often eager to support others, creating a virtuous self-reinforcing cycle.
People with mental health challenges, no matter the severity, can thrive in the workplace and be valuable team members. Friends play an important role by helping to provide the empathy and compassion they need to overcome key challenges. Our collective will, empathy, and compassion can break down the formidable barriers of stigma. Workplace mental health initiatives can and do help. In the end, what matters most is bringing our shared humanity into the workplace.
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