World Mental Health Day 2019: Your toxic work environment is impacting your mind

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year. Highlighting and bringing out the importance of mental health, it aims to spread awareness to remove stigma around mental health issues. It was first celebrated in the year 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. In 1994, for the first time, the day was celebrated with a theme—’Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.’ The cause is also supported by World Health Organisation (WHO) by spreading awareness and contributing to the development of technical and communication material.

According to a WHO-led study, ‘a negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity. Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.’ WHO also mentions the risk factors that impacts the mental health of employees. These include management behaviour, availability of resources, competency and skills of the team and support available for the employee. As we celebrate World mental Health Day this year, let’s take a deep dive into the ways our office could impact our mind and ways to fight them out.


Productivity of the person who has fewer resources to carry out his weekly targets suffers because of extra workload. Similarly, an incompetent or negative manager may bring down the morale of his employees. Employee bashing and impractical work pressure also impact the mental health leading to depression, stress and anxiety. No acknowledgement for the good work and interpersonal problems also count for factors that aggravate mental health issues at workplace. On this World Mental health Day, we give you a low-down on the psychological issues that your office could be responsible for.


Studies suggest that a part of this problem comes from the lack of civility at the workplace. Rude, insensitive and disrespectful behaviour work as a breeding ground for this mental health issue. It’s also been seen that symptoms of depression often goes unnoticed. It’s because it manifests in behaviour like irritability, nervousness and restlessness. These are common symptoms that may put an employee at the risk of depression. It also results in lack of productivity, lack of motivation to reach workplace, calling in sick more than usual and escaping the projects that demand leadership. Depression could be detrimental in more than one way; apart from killing the willingness to work, it may have lifelong impact on mind.

It’s also unfortunate to see the numbers floating on the internet regarding depression caused from the toxic work environment. It’s huge! It has been seen that many employees (of any organisation) confess to taking on treatment for depression. While few brave ones put an end to it by quitting, some are forced by situational circumstances to continue.

Bipolar disorder

This disorder is a person’s mental struggle between two extreme phases—being maniac to totally depressed. Being maniac may appear like a sudden spurt in energy levels, confidence and enthusiasm. But a low mood phase comes with more depressive symptoms like staying aloof, quiet, escaping and ignoring people gathering, and crying. Also, note that in both the phases, the productivity suffers, and both can be self-harming and mentally exhausting.

The employee may appear normal with pumped spirits in office to prove his potential. However, he’s still unable to achieve targets which may lead to extremely sad situations when he’s away from the workplace.


Toxic work environment can lead to anxiety in employees. They may be restless and need constant reassurance for their work. In the absence of which, he might find it difficult to concentrate and be productive. An anxious employee appears tired, lazy, grim and bleak at all times. This disorder could lead to severe work impairment—loss in productivity and absenteeism.

Dealing with office bully, unable to achieve work-life balance, manager’s apathy and tight timelines could lead to this disorder in employees. Researchers suggest that it may be hard to escape this disorder for everyone’s work life at some point of time gets stressful. The idea is to accept the issue and never let it become a norm.


ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s believed that this disorder impacts only children however, it’s not totally true. People who work under stressful work environment may also get affected by ADHD. It is categorised with certain behavioural characteristics at workplace like disorganisation, inability to meet deadlines and workload, problem following manager’s instructions and frequent arguments with peers.


Situation at workplace could go wrong for anyone at anytime while working. From change in management to job role, from change in team to workload, any aspect of work life can go haywire impacting the employee’s mental health. While it’s common, there are few things you can do. Celebrate this World mental Health day by applying these smart tips.

Acknowledge the issue

Even after 27 years of celebrating World Mental Health Day, there is a stigma around the issue. This stigma doesn’t let society and individuals to treat mental health same as the physical health. People are mostly in denial till the point where situations worsen. Accept the issue and ask for help. Accepting is the first step towards getting better. Mental health can deteriorate when factors keep adding up. Early intervention is integral to finding a solution.

Seek help

Talk about it and let out what’s inside you. Try to find someone in your office who can understand the situation and  support you. It’s great to have a friend at workplace on whom you can depend. Having a confidante in office makes it easier for you to explain your thoughts. Let him know what you’re going through and that you need help. If possible, loop in a human resource manager and explain to him your difficulties. See if the company could send you on a break for a few days or change your team or role.

Practice relaxation

Apart from the medical help, make sure you indulge in self-care. In the absence of mental well being, you may suffer from insomnia and panic attacks. Meditation and relaxing exercises are silent health boosters. They can help better your mental health by inducing positive thoughts. It may help you to sleep better and relax your unsettling mind.

Take some time-off

Nothing is worth to compromise your mental peace for, not even your high-paying, well-settled job. If it’s giving you hard time, take a break. Go on a small vacation, introspect and find time for yourself. You may be able to think of reasons how you can build an alternate career option for yourself. Or you may find a way to deal with issues at workplace that’s bothering you.

Come, let’s say ‘no’ to workplace toxicity on this World Mental Health Day.