Mental health has long been a taboo subject both inside and outside of the office. There have been many strides have been taken in the right direction. Business owners and managers are encouraged to help destigmatize mental health in the workplace. However, it is imperative to handle the topic with caution. Here are some steps to managing and supporting mental health in the workplace.
Managing Mental Health
Establishing a foundation. One way to incorporate mental health initiatives is to interrelate them with the organization’s core values, goals, and ethics. By centering mental health in the core of the organization’s foundation, you establish a sense of security, trust, and honest dialogue with your team.
Reducing the stigma. Addressing the stigma surrounding mental health is probably one of the most difficult obstacles in managing mental health in the workplace. Try to focus on promoting mental health initiatives and normalizing mental health discussions to improve communication with your staff. Initiating the conversations can also provide an opportunity for employees to see that there is no judgment, support and resources available, and comfort them in seeking help if they need it.
Providing access to resources. Part of reducing the stigma, promoting support, and normalizing mental health is providing access to the resources needed to educate and support employees. These resources might include educational mental health websites (i.e., NAMI, SAMHSA, APA, etc.), infographics, information for crises (i.e., Crisis Text Line, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc.), and other relevant information.
Promoting support. Not only should you promote employees supporting each other, but also that you – the leader – are supporting them as well. Employers who are transparent in their advocacy for their employees’ wellbeing will go a long way with employees.
Providing Mental Health Support
Promote awareness in the office. The best way to provide mental health support is to break down the barriers and make it less taboo in the workplace. Employees oftentimes believe that by admitting to mental health struggles, they will be reprimanded or treated differently. Reviewing your employee handbook to ensure there are policies regarding mental illness, such as discrimination, retaliation, confidentiality, and other similar topics are covered are in the best interest of deterring negative consequences of promoting mental health awareness.
Extend flexible arrangements. Whether you offer a four-day work week, shorter hours during the summer, allow pets in the office space, or telecommute options, these flexible work arrangements can offer employees a better work-life balance.
Reduce workplace stress. 80% of Americans believe their jobs are stressful. From workloads, pressure for quality results and job insecurity, to excessive hours, office politics, and workplace conflicts, there are plenty of stressors in the workplace. It is critical for managers to maintain lines of communication and the ability to recognize the stress levels of the employees they oversee.
Research benefits. Oftentimes, in reviewing a component of employee benefits offers the opportunity to reevaluate all employee benefits available. Not only should your organization’s benefits cover mental health services, it should look into other valuable benefits, such as telemedicine and wellness programs to promote mental health.
Educate leaders. Frequently, mental health is not acknowledged because many people do not know the signs to recognize mental health struggles. With the proper training, managers and individuals in leadership positions should be able to recognize mental health illness, workplace stress, bullying, fatigues, and other stressors that can lead to mental health problems.
Mental health does not need to be taboo, nor does it need to be a catalyst for office politics. However, ensuring the mental health of your employees should be considered as a priority. If you would like to learn more about employee benefit packages that cover mental health services or simply want to learn more about developing your employee handbook, please contact Insured Solutions. Our team of HR professionals can assist with customized HR and employee benefit solutions.