How Toxic Work Culture Can Negatively Impact Your Mental Health

Reviewed by Melinda (Santa) Gladden, LCSW

Published 06/24/2022

You want to be able to give it your all so that you can succeed in your career. That becomes a whole lot tougher to do when you have a toxic work culture to deal with. In fact, many people working at companies with a negative work culture will suffer serious mental health issues. When you are not being treated right as an employee, it will be hard to maintain a positive attitude. These work issues could wind up becoming big mental health struggles over time if you do not get the right help.

Read on to learn about how toxic work culture can negatively affect your mental health. You will learn about why toxic work culture can be so problematic as well as things that you should be looking out for. Once you have read all of the information, you might make some life changes that will help you get yourself to a better place. No one deserves to work in a toxic workplace, but at least you can try to salvage your mental health by taking the right steps.

It Can Burn You Out

One of the most common ways that toxic organizational culture can negatively affect your mental health is by burning you out. Toxic workplaces often work their employees to the bone, and they do not care whether they do a good job supporting their people. You might be assigned excessively much work that you will not be able to handle on time. It is also possible that you could be given mandatory overtime orders that will put you in a bind. Going through situations like this will certainly have an impact on your mental health.

When you start to feel burned out, it can make it tough for you to get anything done. Burnout is a real problem that affects many people in the corporate world. If you work yourself too hard for too long, then you are going to be more likely to be burned out. Toxic companies burn employees out regularly because they do not have respect for their limitations. If this sounds like something that is happening to you, then you might need to figure out how you can take a step back for the sake of your mental health.

You Can Start Questioning Your Skills

Self-doubt can start to creep into your mind when you are working in a toxic environment. The toxic culture definition indicates that toxic companies will usually have a lot of fighting going on. People will be arguing about the best way to do things, or they will be fighting over spots. This can lead to people stabbing each other in the back and many other problems. Trying to do good work in an environment like this might be a skill in and of itself. If you do not thrive in a hectic work environment, you might start to question your skills.

You could see your performance go down week after week because of everything you are subjected to. In toxic companies, they often care more about performance than they do about supporting their employees. This could mean that you will even be reprimanded if your performance does not meet certain expectations. When you start questioning your skills that you have worked so hard to hone, it can really do a lot of damage to your self-confidence.

Good companies will help employees to become the best versions of themselves. Bad companies will break their employees’ spirits. You do not want this to happen to you, but you also might not be able to quit the job if you are relying on the income. It can be quite a dilemma, but you should know that it is not good for your mental health to be pushed into negative territory like this.

You Might Start Lashing Out At Others

Have you started to act angrier than usual when you are home from work? You might have noticed yourself getting a little snippy with your significant other or lashing out at your children when they get on your nerves. Your toxic work environment is making it that much tougher for you to keep your cool. No one wants to take out work stress on his or her family members and friends, but this does sometimes happen when you have a toxic work environment.

One way you can try to fix this is to spend time unwinding to find your center. You might need a bit of time yourself to process all of the stuff you went through during your workday. I hope that you will be able to avoid lashing out at your loved ones in the future. It is just not easy when you are going through a tough time at work, and you can feel the stress building up each day.

Feeling More Stressed Than Usual

One of the biggest toxic work environment characteristics is stress. Things are going to be much more stressful than they should be near all the time. You might be forced to meet tight deadlines while not receiving much in the way of support. When a company puts a lot of stress on their people, it will be hard for them to keep moving forward. Stress can make you feel out of sorts, and you do not want to let stress get the better of you.

When you are working for a toxic company, it is going to be more important than ever to try to relieve stress when you go home. Stress reduction techniques will play a huge role in helping you to stay sane when you are working at a place like this. You might need to take up certain hobbies that will help you to keep your cool. Some people have good luck with exercising as a way to relieve stress. Even just spending some time playing a game or reading a good book might do the trick, though.

However, it is important to note that stress levels can get so high at toxic companies that normal stress relief methods might not be enough. A toxic work environment often puts undue pressure on employees to perform. If this starts to get out of hand, you might not even want to stay at the company. Many people have left companies like this for the sake of their mental health in the past. You have to weigh how lucrative the job is against the damage that it is doing to your overall well-being.

Not Having Enough Personal Time

Your mental health will suffer when you are forced to work all the time. A toxic workplace is going to be less likely to give you the time off that you need. Some of these environments will even do things such as force employees to take overtime if they want to remain employed. You might wind up having significantly less time for other things that you are passionate about if you stay at this job.

Of course, many people work jobs that require long hours, and they do perfectly well. It all comes down to the corporate culture and how well people are supported. You might be able to work for a company that regularly expects 50-hour weeks while having a good time. Working those same hours at a toxic company will produce significantly different results, though. It is just not healthy to work a stressful job for too long because you need to be able to rest sometimes.

Rest is important, and not getting enough of it can throw your mental health off. Some people who work for toxic companies will not get enough sleep because of the crazy work hours that they need to keep up with. When you are not getting eight hours of sleep at night, it is going to make it impossible to maintain a positive outlook on life for long. Sometimes you have to recognize your limitations and put your foot down so that you can start feeling better.


Depression can be a big issue among those who are dealing with a toxic corporate culture. You might be trying your best to keep things going, but it will be tough to stay happy when your work environment is not supportive. Eventually, you might reach a point where you will become depressed because of how bad your work environment has become. Dealing with bad bosses and toxic coworkers can take its toll even on the best people. Knowing this, it is important to be able to get help when you feel depressed.

If you want to figure out whether you are depressed or not, then you can take this depression test. It is a good way to determine if you are depressed so that you can decide to do something about it. Going to see your doctor will be a good idea when you have noticed some signs of depression. Your doctor can diagnose you with depression if necessary, and you can start to go over treatment options.

Continuing to sally forth without seeking depression treatment will likely just make things worse. It is certainly tough to know that your work environment is bad, but you can try to get the support you need. Antidepressant medications can make a difference, and you could choose to see a therapist as well. This could help you to come to terms with the problems at your workplace so that you can at least feel better.

NOTES: I do not recommend promoting a depression test. But instead, creating a checklist of what makes a work culture negative and making recommendations on how to have either a better work environment or what should be done when you feel you need to leave the work environment.

  • Does not go against what is clinically accepted.
  • Does not encourage mindsets or practices that may be harmful to the reader.
  • Is factual and up-to-date.