Books on nearly every aspect of leadership crowd the management section in book stores. Yet, hardly any of these publications deal with the capacity of leaders to support mental health in the workplace. Nothing prepares a leader for how to respond when a team member quietly talks about being swept away in a wave of depression.
One in five adults experiences a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Of these, more than half will go untreated. The economic impact is immense, and the human costs are devastating. Mental health issues are happening at every socioeconomic and professional level, from low wage workers to CEOs.
Although work in itself supports psychological well-being, the workplace, in fact, poses many risks to our mental health: we may be doing work beyond our capacity or skills, with too few resources or simply not enough time to do what (we believe) is expected. We may be experiencing workplace bullying or be working in a flat-out toxic environment.