The surge in mental health disorders has become one of the biggest issues in the workplace today. This includes the most commonly experienced symptoms of stress and anxiety to more complex conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), etc.
Such chronic and life-disruptive disorders have the potential to affect the life of both employees and employers. Due to employees’ poor health conditions, employers often have to face a number of repercussions, such as increased absenteeism, burnout, decreased motivation, loss of productivity, etc.
Organizations and companies of all sizes play an important role in promoting the well-being of its employees. Employers who have strong workplace policies and ethics, health benefit programs and well-trained managers can create a safe and healthy environment in which both employees and business can flourish.
While many organizations understand the importance of promoting good mental health in workplaces, many do not feel confident in handling and communicating such issues at the workplace. Due to increased stigma around mental disorders, such cases are often swept under the carpet.
Bipolar disorder—characterized by an extreme shift in mood, ranging between feeling ecstatic, lively and euphoric to feeling disinterested, desolated and depressed—is another severe mental health condition. As bipolar disorder does not rise due to a single cause, it could be particularly difficult to determine bipolar disorder in an employee.
It often occurs due to the intermingling of a range of factors, including genetic traits, an imbalance in brain chemicals, stress, hormonal issues and other related environmental factors. People who undergo a manic episode are likely to exhibit similar upheavals in their professional life too. Therefore, people suffering from bipolar disorder suffer both personally and professionally. They not only display personal distress, but also portray the signs of occupational problems.
Passive form of bullying prevalent against employees with bipolar disorder
A study highlighted that people struggling with bipolar disorder often face troubles at work due to exclusion, stigma and stereotypes directed at them. Researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of California found that employees who disclosed their mental condition to their co-workers and employers experienced negative results rather than receiving special accommodations or more support.
The above finding once again highlights the fraudulent approach of the society toward a topic as sensitive as mental disorders. Besides facing ridicule and ostracization, an employee disclosing his or her mental condition run the danger of losing his or her job.
In order to analyze the association between social stressors at work like isolation, conflict with others, stigma and prejudices, etc., the study authors selected about 129 participants aged between 47 and 51 from the Prechter Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder database. They were also inquired about the passive forms of bullying, such as exclusion and stigma by coworkers, and other factors, such as conflict at work, social support and their mood.
Researchers found that acute depressive symptoms and conflict led to greater work impairments, and exclusion at work and impact of stigma with keeping a job predicted the person’s work status. Exclusion from the workplace can also be considered a form of bullying that may lead to adverse outcomes, such as less social support from others.
The authors further concluded that more research is required to determine the challenges of the work environment often witnessed by people suffering from a severe form of mental illness, such as inflexible working hours, lower wages, access to appropriate health care facilities, etc. O’Donnell, a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, highlighted that these innovations have the potential to improve how the disadvantaged population functions at work and potentially prevent unemployment.
Timely treatment ensures faster recovery
Mental disorders like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder can cause serious disruptions in a person’s life. Fortunately, these conditions can be treated with proper intervention programs. Depending on the symptoms and severity of the mental disorder, the treatment may include medications and psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Besides these measures, it is important to see an expert for identifying the right diagnosis and treatment for an effective outcome.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder, contact the California Mental Health Helpline for advice on mental health treatment in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with our specialists for information on the best mental health rehabilitation centers in California.