The Top 5 Ways You Can Support Mental Health in the Workplace
With the job market still tight, organizations are placing an increased emphasis on supporting their employees' mental health.
As a business owner, it’s important to create a work environment that is conducive to employee productivity and well-being. Unfortunately, mental health problems are common, and they can take a toll on both employees and employers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in any given year. This can lead to absenteeism, decreased productivity, and increased healthcare costs.
The past few years have been difficult for everyone, and the pandemic has taken a toll on mental health and employee well-being. In fact, The American Psychological Association reports 4 times higher rates of anxiety and depression in adults between April 2020 and August 2021. With the job market still tight, organizations are placing an increased emphasis on supporting their employees’ mental health. They know that happy and healthy employees are more engaged and productive, and they are also more likely to stay with the company. As a result, we are seeing more companies offering mental health support services, flexible work arrangements, and other programs designed to promote employee well-being.
This shift in priorities is good news for employees who have been struggling during the pandemic and beyond. It’s a sign that companies are finally starting to recognize the importance of supporting their mental health and well-being. However, many employers do not know where to begin and how to implement supportive practices in the workplace. Here are our top 5 tips for creating a supportive and healthy workplace:
1. Open the door for honest communication
First, make sure that you have an open and supportive communication policy. Encourage employees to come to you with concerns or problems so that they can be addressed early on. 82% of workers with a diagnosed mental illness do not inform their workplace managers about their condition (Sangar, 2019). It is important to establish early on that your workplace is a safe place to be honest about mental and physical health concerns without the fear of losing your job.
2. Provide mental health coverage
Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, many employers do not provide coverage for mental health services, leaving employees to pay for services out of their own pocket. Employees who are struggling with their mental health are more likely to call in sick, have more accidents, and be less productive. As a result, poor mental health in the workplace can actually lead to higher healthcare costs for employers. It makes good business sense for employers to provide coverage for mental health services and alternative care, plus it’s the right thing to do. Not only will it improve the well-being of employees, but it will also save money and boost productivity in the long run.
3. Train your staff on how to recognize and react to a mental health crisis
As the prevalence of mental health disorders continues to rise, it is increasingly important for businesses to train their staff in how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. Employees who are trained in mental health first aid are better equipped to identify the signs of a mental health crisis and provide support to employees in need. According to Pathways, employees who receive this type of training are more likely to feel comfortable speaking up about their own mental health struggles, which can help to create a more open and supportive workplace. Furthermore, businesses that invest in mental health first aid training can see a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in employee productivity.
4. Provide actual resources for your employees
Employee assistance programs, or EAPs, are designed to help employees resolve issues that could impact their work life. EAPs typically provide confidential assessment, short-term counseling, referral, and follow-up services for employees who are experiencing personal or work-related problems. While the specific services offered by an EAP may vary depending on the employer, all EAPs share the goal of helping employees address problems that could adversely affect their work performance. In most cases, EAP services are available at no cost to employees and are strictly confidential.
In addition, employers can look into offering different forms of therapy to their employees such as traditional and non-traditional forms of therapy. Programs such as corporate neurofeedback sessions can provide employees with a non-invasive and private way to optimize brain function and decrease or eliminate symptoms of anxiety, depression and more.
5. Lead by example: Take care of your own mental health
As an employer, one of the most important things you can do is lead by example. If you want your employees to be productive and happy, you need to set the tone by taking care of your own mental health. That means making time for self-care, maintaining a positive outlook, and seeking help when needed. By modeling healthy behavior, you can create a workplace that is supportive and nurturing. So make sure to set an example for your team and take care of your own mental health.
In the world today, employers should be providing mental health resources to their employees. These offerings will set you apart from your industry peers and are also cost-effective solutions to assist in recruiting new talent and retaining key employees.
As we move into a new business era, employers are financially conscious of the revenue impact of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to have productive employees who are present at work. There are many affordable and accessible solutions available, which leaves employers with a lot of flexibility with the benefits they offer. There are many affordable options available, which leaves employers with a lot of flexibility in the benefits they choose to offer. When your employees are thriving, it is highly likely that your business will too. We hope these tips will get you started in the right direction.
Having worked in operational management for 15+ years, Jennifer Tierney, COO at Full Velocity Consulting, possesses a distinct skill set and is known for complex analysis of operations, finance, and technology to improve core business strategies. Jen is also the founder and CEO of Parker Neurofeedback, a Colorado-based Neurotherapy office and provider. She believes in using technological advances to improve daily functions, along with overall company direction and growth. She is trained in project management and process improvements having participated in several Six Sigma projects, has a Masters degree in Technology Management, and is an adjunct professor at Red Rocks College where she teaches business/marketing courses.
As President and Co-founder of Think Health Consulting, Kyle Kube is dedicated to helping companies improve their corporate culture through a variety of measures. With expertise in employee benefits, human resources, risk management, and talent delivery Think Health Consulting offers comprehensive solutions for businesses looking to enhance their workplace environment. Kube brings 10+ years of experience to appropriately manage risk and implement innovative medical solutions that not only impact the bottom line but also foster a workplace culture that compounds success for years to come.