What to Know About Work and Mental Health

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on February 25, 2024
3 min read

The average human spends approximately 90,000 hours of their life in the workplace. That’s a significant amount of time. Your work may be your source of self-fulfillment or happiness. But it can also cause serious mental health issues. It’s vital to know how to deal with work-related mental issues so you can stay productive at work.


Things like a poor working environment could negatively affect workplace morale. This ultimately leads to things like sub-par job performance, health issues, and poor communication, which causes frustrations and stress.

Poor mental health brought about by stress in the workplace could cause a range of serious medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and other heart conditions.

Some things that may affect your mental health in the workplace include:

  • Excessive workload. A heavy workload could cause employee burnout. Burnout, or exhaustion, is a common cause of mental health problems in the workplace. It can be a major barrier to making meaningful contributions in your personal and professional life. Burnt out employees cannot work efficiently. This can mean losses or lessened profits for the employer. Many companies dedicate a budget to help their employees take care of their mental health.
  • Poor pay. Constant pressure to make more money eventually affects your mental health. When employees are underpaid and overworked, mental conditions like anxiety and depression are more likely to happen.
  • Stigma. Mental health is still a delicate topic for many. Not many people are comfortable speaking up about their personal mental struggles with co-workers.

Job-related stress may also be the cause of several different mental health issues, including:

Anxiety. Anxiety disorders are quite common. Anxiety affects about 18% of American adults. It shows up as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and excess worrying during work. These symptoms interfere with your ability to function at your best.

There are several causes of work anxiety. Some of them include sour relationships with workmates, poor job performance, and meeting deadlines. Anxiety disorder can have a major negative impact on your work. Anxiety can even cause you to turn down opportunities for career advancement.

Depression. Any job can play a role in depression, depending on the environment and level of support available. Some of the most common causes of depression related to employment are job insecurity, a lack of balance between home and work, a toxic work environment, and overwork.

Depression may also affect your ability to make decisions, manage time, complete physical tasks, have social interactions, and communicate. It’s vital to diagnose depression early so you can treat it effectively.

Treatment for mental health problems.

When you have a mental health issue related to work, experts recommend asking for help from a professional and other people close to you. Most organizations have an employee assistance program.

If you feel you need more help than what’s available through your employer, talk to your doctor. Mental health can be treated through various forms of therapy. Your doctor may prescribe medications or recommend other alternatives like psychotherapy.