Let’s face facts – Gossip sucks
I endured it online on Tuesday and sent an email to YouTube and a video was removed that violated my privacy..
Now let’s say you confide about an anxiety or depression ailment or are bi-polar and it is affecting your work. Depending on whom you confide in, things can get better or really go sideways.
The co-worker that you assumed to be trustworthy unknown to you starts gossiping about your mental health issues. Unfortunately, this has been an increasing problem in workplaces across the nation. This is because of intra-office messaging and social media platforms. This has set off alarms in the management in workplaces that workers who are dealing with mental health issues should come to a supervisor immediately in trust and be wary of who you otherwise share sensitive information with.
People engage in workplace gossip for several reasons –
- Making others appear weak to gain promotion or favoritism with management
- Isolating people they do not like or are perceived as a threat
- Connect to a clique or social group that gossip
- Revenge or envy
- Embarrassment or cruelty
- Relieve boredom or tension at work
This gossiping or shaming can have a crippling effect on you both emotionally and physically. Work performance is most likely going to get worse. Attendance may become an issue as being home alone is preferred to a cruel group of colleagues. If you are afraid to confide in a supervisor about the situation, this may result in disciplinary action including termination which will lead to financial difficulties.
All this may place the gossiper on the defensive. Some type of revenge, including violence, may be directed at them as a result of increased anxiety and stresses. If you decide to confide in a supervisor and the gossiper is outed, they will face discipline, gain a reputation as not being trustworthy and of course may be terminated.
If you are dealing with depression, anxiety, bi-polar or mania and have traumas like bullying from childhood, imagine what type of triggers will be activated by similar events happening at work. If you did not get help as a child and has a lot of anger and sadness pent up, gossip aimed at them will bring back traumas that can unleash a plethora of behaviors.. We have seen the extent of workplace violence on the news after someone gets fired or has an issue with a co-worker or boss.
The good news is that management is participating in mandatory mental health training in companies across the country. This training then continues in the management-employees format. Topics such as anti-bullying, identifying and discussing mental illness with supervisors aims to build teamwork and a sense of trust and community. Access to programs and assistance are offered by these companies as workers well-being takes precedent.
These trainings recently cover everything from name calling, texting gossip and even meme’s and cyberbullying of any employee. A zero-tolerance policy is being adopted as in the school systems when it comes to persons who commit any of these offenses in the workplace.
One thing is for sure. Companies are doing their best to get rid of the stigma of mental illness or a physical handicap. Treating co-workers who have mental and physical issues with anything but dignity won’t be tolerated.
It is still going to be a long way to go when it comes to having employees trust management when it comes to their mental health. Reasons ranging from privacy concerns to fear of reaction form a manager may stop someone from coming forward about their problems. There are also perceived insurance concerns when it comes to getting help and the out of pocket costs despite claims from many companies that they will pay for all wellness costs.
Workplaces who have made commitments to mental health training at all levels have seen efficiency increase about 25 percent.
Workers get emotionally and physically healthy, feel safe in their place of work and know management truly is invested in their health and wellness
A win-win for everyone involved.
Does your workplace have a mental health program? Please leave a comment below talking about how it has affected your workplace environment.