Mental health is now being commonly discussed over the world, thankfully helping decrease the stigma surrounding it. Howwever, many people are concerned about being vulnerable and opening up to people when unsure of their true intentions – and understandably so.
Over the last few years, organizations are becoming more aware of the importance of mental health, investing resources to ensure the wellbeing of their employees. Investing in employees' mental health long-term will increase employee retention, production and positively impact the overall culture of a business. A happy workplace is the best workplace.
When talking about mentoring programs, commonly portrayed is the benefits it has on professional and personal development, not the impact on mental health. However, with recent studies showing that mentoring can truly have a positive impact on the mental health of mentees, it’s something all employers should be implementing.
Here are the top four issues a mentoring program can have a positive impact on:
Self-confidence plays a crucial role in both personal lives and within the workplace. While low self-esteem issues aren’t classed as a stand-alone mental health issue, it’s a common problem for those affected. Research throughout the years shows the detrimental impact low self-esteem has on an individual and their mental health, with low self-confidence being linked to decreased workplace engagement, production levels and communication skills. Confidence is all about knowing what you’re good at and the value you bring, it's considered essential to career development.
There are many benefits of having a professional or personal mentor to help guide an individual on their journey, however, less frequently addressed is the impact a mentor has on the self-confidence of their mentee. Individuals with low self-esteem are often filled with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, even if they’re a specialist within the field. Having a mentor who offers workplace assistance and direction can considerably alter the way an individual views themselves. Mentoring relationships create a safe space where ideas can be freely shared without judgment, allowing mentees to grow as a person and embrace their vulnerabilities.
2. Reduced stress and anxiety levels
Many of us in our lifetime have experienced stress or anxiety in our work or home life. These two issues are not only harmful to physical health, but also alter our mental state and wellbeing. Over 74% of adults have endured so much stress they feel overwhelmed, with a staggering 31% of adults experiencing a type of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. There’s a growing need for organizations to support their employees with these matters.
Although overcoming these obstacles doesn’t always feel achievable, a mentor can greatly help ease the levels of stress and anxiety an employee may feel within the workplace. People experiencing anxiety may agonize over the minutest of tasks or be wary of their surroundings, which can feel crushing and frightful for the individual. A great mentor can help avoid these feelings by being there to work with the mentee, finding solutions to their challenges in a secure environment. A mentor previously may have encountered similar hurdles, allowing their mentee to see that the problem is common, can be overcome and is nothing that should cause them distress.
3. Learning new skills
A mentoring program is an excellent way to inspire employees to learn new skills and knowledge. We’ve all felt overwhelmed or challenged before during our career, a mentor helps ease these feelings considerably. Every employee has various weaknesses and strengths, which mentors can help identify.
Some of the most common obstacles encountered in the workplace are the lack of work-life balance, work overload and self-doubt. These issues often cause employees to feel down and worried, mentors can work alongside the mentee, identifying their weaknesses and strengths, encouraging them to learn ways to help manage these concerns. To develop in a career, learning is crucial at any stage, with gaining new skills making us feel accomplished and more confident within the workplace.
After countless lockdowns, many of us understand how it feels to be isolated. However, some individuals who live with mental health problems have dealt with this feeling long before the pandemic.
Although mental health is now being addressed more openly, people still feel they can’t discuss it within the workplace. Employees are concerned about opening up to their bosses about the difficulties they face, in fear of being judged or treated differently. A mentoring program provides a support system, allowing conversations and trusting connections to be built. Mentors are someone employees can talk with and trust, with many people who are affected by mental health issues not having this network around them in their personal life. Mentoring relationships can make employees feel less alone.
There are many ways to create a workplace that is a healthy and happy place for employees. Taking good care of employees should be the main priority for any organisation, with the benefits outweighing any costs involved. Implementing a mentoring program into your organisation will not only improve career progression and development but improve the mental health of staff members.