Mental Health

The Mental Health Impacts of Being New to the Workplace

Over on my other blog, I recently shared a bit about the anxiety that can come with starting a new job.

As I mentioned, this reminded me of work. Having only one week in at a new job, there are a ton of things I don’t know. There are a ton of things that I’m going to have to ask for help with. It takes a toll on my anxiety. It kickstarts my brain into negative self-talk. After all, look at all of the things I can’t do without help. When I’m dealing with this, do you know what feels really great? Finding the things I do really well and sharing some of the knowledge I have. It’s an immediate boost to my sense of self and the sense that I contribute to the team.

I have been through this transition a few times, so I knew the situation and myself well enough to have planned for this. It also helps that my new boss is an old friend, and the new workplace is a firm where I used to work, albeit over 12 years it has changed.

Still, it serves as a good example of the mental health toll of coming into a new environment, and also a reminder of how much more anxiety-inducing this could be for someone young coming into their first job, or someone making a massive career change, relocating, etc.

It’s not easy.

Harvard Business Review recognized this and had some tips. I love the fact that the article recognized how this level of change can create anxiety and impact our mental health.

How to Support New Workers’ Mental Health

Maybe the most important thing I took away from reading was this simple statement:

Build continuous connection and community around mental health.

It seems simple enough, but I know how difficult it is to do. So many other priorities get in the way of doing this with current employees that when a new one comes in and they are looking for the kind of mental health support and resources that more and more people are starting to expect, it is disheartening to find that no one talks about mental health and it’s not even clear how you would access any available resources.

There should be no question about how to access resources. There should be an expectation that there are people you can reach out to who would help you navigate those resources and that managers are supportive of basic mental health activities that help avoid burnout.

Anything less just isn’t good enough.


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