We Matter: Prioritizing Mental Health Awareness for Your Well-Being at the Workplace
Picture source: Marsh McLennan Agency
Mental health is one of the biggest topics of discussion in today's social climate. People are more aware than ever of the direct connection between how they feel and how they function. At the same time, many companies have difficulty evaluating and adjusting their approach to employee mental health because (1) unfortunately the topic has been taboo for decades and (2) they lack a thorough understanding of what mental health actually is and means. Mental health directly affects a worker's ability to function physically. Investing in workplace mental health initiatives offers many benefits for both employees and employers. A mentally healthy work environment promotes happiness, job satisfaction and employee engagement. It also leads to increased productivity, innovation and reduced healthcare costs.
Employees can play an important role in mental health education and awareness among their colleagues, in addition to their employer's efforts. Promoting mental health in the workplace must happen at every level and throughout the year until it becomes an integral part of company culture.
1. Include mental health at orientation
From day one, employers can set a precedent that mental health is a priority. Employers can address mental health in discussions about their benefits, mission and vision, and workplace culture as part of orientation. Additionally, employers can provide guidance on mental health resources to provide internal and community support to new employees.
2. Mark major awareness campaigns on the calendar and celebrate them
Mental Health Month takes place in May each year. National Suicide Prevention Week occurs in September. Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day are recognized in October. Follow social media or sign up for a mental health organization's mailing list like MHA to access free resources you can distribute to employees during awareness campaigns.
3. Establish a mental health team
Employers should consider establishing a team, task force, employee group, or paid position to identify and address concerns related to workplace culture and raise awareness of workplace culture. mental health awareness, education and resources available to employees. How employees view their workplace is said to be heavily influenced by their organizational rank, with senior and mid-level employees having more positive views of workplace culture. The team should include members who bring different perspectives to the workplace, including supervisors, subordinates, human resources, and leadership. Small employers may need to appoint someone to this role.
4. Train managers regularly
The line manager is often the person who interacts most frequently with employees. If these managers effectively promote mental health, employees will feel more comfortable sharing their own mental health experiences and concerns. This training will encourage managers to talk appropriately about mental health, avoid discrimination against people with mental health problems and promote a good balance between work and life for their employees.
5. Senior leadership can model open communication
Mental health messages are most meaningful when they come from all levels of the company, including senior management. Encourage senior managers or others in high leadership positions to talk openly about their personal experiences with mental health or substance use. Messages can be shared during awareness campaigns or busy seasons in which leaders directly address workplace worries and stress.
Source: Mental Health America