Ahhh mental health and the workplace. Where do I even start? I can’t contain all my thoughts in one post. But here’s a start.

Your workplace most likely focuses on the symptoms of your mental health, and not the root cause. We are taught coping strategies to help us manage the effects, but not helped to resolve the underlying problem. In some cases even the symptoms are not addressed.

Here are the common ways it’s managed:

  • Mental Health Champions: These are go-to people for advice and listening. They provide coping strategies, such as splashing cold water on your face to calm down. They can be helpful in the moment, but probably won’t help resolve the issue causing your stress.
  • Talking to Your Manager: If you’re struggling, you’re encouraged to chat with your manager. This could help, but only if your manager is understanding and genuinely supportive. On the flip side, they could make things worse if they’re absent or toxic.
  • Escalating to Your Manager’s Manager: If your manager sucks, you might be told to talk to their boss. This may backfire and make your workplace situation more tense, as your manager may figure out it was YOU who complained to their manager. Even worse if they have an unprofessional clique with their boss.
  • Team Activities: Things like the one off pizza to share with your team, or group exercises aimed at boosting morale. Fun? Yes, who doesn’t enjoy the short-term serotonin hit you get from eating carbs, as you eat your feelings away. And that’s if there is the budget for it of course! Which may have been cut.
  • Wellness Workshops: Sessions on yoga or meditation aimed to help you manage stress better. The onus is on YOU to tolerate the problem better.

None of these methods are bad, many of them can be helpful. Their downfall is these mechanisms focus more on coping with stress, but shouldn’t our goal be to resolve underlying issues, not just help people get through a difficult moment?

Working from an inside out approach rather than an outside in, may actually get you somewhere – for example, dealing with the heavy workload, lack of support, poor management, or toxic colleagues to actually resolve the issue.

These are my observations, what’re your experiences?

Hope you have a good Friday, and if you’re inspired to buy some pizza to cope, give this post a like!

Farzana Chowdhury

Farzana Chowdhury

Inclusion, diversity and change specialist
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One thought on “Bandage Solutions to Workplace Stress

  1. It’d be good if workplaces had a psychologist available for employees to talk to at any time. Say you’ve had a difficult meeting, it’d be great to be able to take 30 mins out to talk with a trained professional.

    Also, it’d be great to see an independent support team on hand to investigate issues and help colleagues to truly resolve underlying problems.


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