Most people who work will spend more time at work than in anything else in our lives. Work forms an important part a person’s identity, and to varying degrees, it is an important area in which we seek personal fulfilment.
A person can experience a disruption to their ability to work in different ways. Problems may arise in the work environment due to difficulties in relationships with colleagues and clients. Bullying and harassment can occur. Other issues can arise such as excessive work stress. This can be due to difficulties with other mental or physical health problems, or changes in occupational roles or working circumstances. Redundancy or retirement can also have a significant impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing.
Some jobs involve significant exposure to challenging and sometimes life threatening situations, for example work with certain emergency services. Such work environments can put individuals at risk of developing severe problems with mood or anxiety.
It is often tempting to put things on hold, to appear strong and ‘tough it out’. However unaddressed work difficulties could impact on an individual’s mental health. This could lead on to problems with depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance misuse. Difficulties can also affect an individual’s relationships with family and friends.
Mental health treatment is more effective when the workplace environment is taken into consideration. This includes taking into account the limitations on a person’s ability to work whilst recovering. The impact of treatment, for example some medications, also needs to be considered. Optimising a person’s ability to remain working, even in alternative roles which may be temporary, often helps to achieve the best outcome. The workplace or the employer may need support in understanding an individual’s specific mental health needs. This may often involve a formal medical report or an independent medical assessment.
Our Psychiatrists at Randwick Psychiatry are available to provide specialised treatment and support for mental health difficulties in a work-related context. Dr Samuel Lim has a special interest, experience and expertise in this field. Please contact us to arrange a consultation.
If you have concerns that you or someone you know has a mental health condition and that there are serious immediate concerns for that person’s safety, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Emergency help can be accessed through your nearest hospital or by dialling ‘000’ in Australia.