[Episode 8] A-Z of Cultural Impact: H for (Mental) Health
Importance of Mental Health
In the wake of a world-altering pandemic, the dialogue surrounding mental health has gained unprecedented momentum. This once-taboo topic has become impossible to ignore. Mental health not only affects individuals but also leaves a profound impact on colleagues and entire organisations. Despite increasing awareness, many still shy away from sharing their struggles, fearing potential consequences such as being treated differently or viewed as weak and incompetent. Nevertheless, addressing mental health is crucial for fostering a productive and harmonious workplace.
Prioritising Mental Health in an Inclusive Workplace
A work environment that actively promotes diversity and inclusion must also prioritise mental health. When employees feel they can be their authentic selves without fear of judgement or discrimination, they are more likely to thrive personally and professionally. Mental health support creates a sense of belonging, allowing people from various backgrounds to feel valued and appreciated for who they are.
Theatre as a Tool for Mental Health Awareness
Recently, Cultural Impact worked with the Kuala Lumpur Shakespeare Players to stage an Exchange Theatre show to explore the impact of mental health on individuals and corporations. By shedding light on the challenges that many face but are hesitant to speak about, this production encouraged audiences to reflect on the importance of embracing vulnerability as part of a more inclusive culture as well as delve into how to make things better. Through the lens of theatre, the show highlighted the power of storytelling and improvisation to spark meaningful conversations about mental health.
Creating Safe Spaces & Inclusive Leadership
To foster an inclusive work environment, organisations must create a safe space for employees to express vulnerability without judgement. Inclusive leadership plays a pivotal role in building trust among team members. When leaders openly acknowledge their own struggles and encourage open dialogue about mental health, they set a positive example for others to follow. A safe space encourages employees to share their challenges and seek support without fear of repercussions, ultimately benefiting both individual well-being and overall team dynamics.
The Power of Cultural Empathy
Cultural Impact philosophy revolves around empathy and understanding. Embracing diversity entails recognizing that every individual brings unique perspectives and experiences to the table. By actively practising empathy, colleagues and leaders can develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by their peers, making it easier to support one another through difficult times. Cultural empathy builds bridges and strengthens the sense of community within the organisation.
Breaking Internal Barriers to Vulnerability
Although creating an inclusive and supportive space is essential, individuals may still face internal barriers to vulnerability. The fear of being perceived as weak or the pressure to conform to societal norms can prevent individuals from openly discussing their mental health struggles. Organisations can break down these barriers through mental health awareness initiatives as well as coaching and training programs offered by Cultural Impact. By emphasising that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, organisations can promote a culture that embraces openness and authenticity.
Fostering a Healthier and Happier Workforce
As organisations strive to create a more inclusive and compassionate culture, it is vital to remember that allowing people to be vulnerable is a stepping stone towards creating a healthier and happier workforce. By fostering a culture that encourages open dialogue, empathy, and support, we can build a more resilient and united community that embraces all its members, irrespective of their struggles. Together, we can elevate mental health as a cornerstone of office safety initiatives and create a positive cultural impact that resonates far beyond the workplace.
Written by Farah Rani