In a diverse work environment, it is important to be mindful of everyone around you. This includes being mindful and respecting everyone’s medical conditions, illness or mental health. Here are some guidelines for fighting stigma in the workplace.
1.) Know the facts about the illness.
Having knowledge about a disease or a condition will help you and your colleagues to identify and respond to the situation in a better way. If you are unsure about any medical conditions or mental illness in the office, approach your manager to understand more.
2.) Watch your words.
Using your words carefully around anyone in the workspace is a good idea. Words and specific language choices can stigmatise a person living with a medical condition or illness. It is important to know that a person is a person and not their diagnosis or condition. Understanding this reinforces the fact that everyone in the workplace is equal and deserves equal respect.
3.) Speak up for your colleagues.
In line with watching your words, as an individual, you need to speak up if you do hear a work colleague using stigmatizing and incorrect facts about any medical condition or mental illness.
4.) Become supportive.
Being supportive towards anyone of your colleagues creates an uplifting environment. Taking the time to be supportive towards a colleague with a medical condition can give them a confidence boost that they might need. It is also noted that we spend so much time with our co-workers. Receiving support from them can add significant value to their mental health, potentially reducing stress.