Mental health problems are the result of a complex interplay between biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. There is increasing evidence that both the content and context of work can play a role in the development of mental health problems in the workplace.
Key factors include:
- workload (both excessive and insufficient work)
- lack of participation and control in the workplace
- monotonous or unpleasant tasks
- role ambiguity or conflict
- lack of recognition at work
- poor interpersonal relationships
- poor working conditions
- poor leadership and communication
- conflicting home and work demands.
Whilst the workplace can contribute positively to a person’s mental health, it may also exacerbate an existing problem, or may contribute to the development of a mental health problem. Employers should put in place programmes to promote the mental health of workers, and to ensure that mental health problems are recognised early and treated effectively.
- Transient (like an acute stress disorder)
- Periodic (like bipolar disorder, characterised by periods of exaggerated elation followed by periods of depression)
- Long lasting and progressive (like Alzheimer’s disease)