More and more business leaders are realising the importance of supporting their employees’ mental health. They’re quickly seeing the results of happy, healthy employees in the form of a productive and efficient place of work. Since most people spend nearly a quarter of their lives at work, it makes sense for their employers to take the necessary steps to take care of their physical and mental well-being in the workplace. So, how can this be done? Here are some positive measures you can implement in your workplace to promote mental health:
Talk about mental health openly
There’s no need to feel afraid about bringing up issues related to depression, anxiety, stress, or various mental illnesses. The more open everyone is, the more your employees will understand that everyone struggles with similar issues. You can set up regular counseling seminars for managers and supervisors so that they’re given the opportunity to learn about mental health issues and how to respond to them accordingly.
Advocate for healthy work-life balance
You might think it’s helpful to commend employees who choose to work late and arrive extra early, but this is actually detrimental in the long run. Even if you don’t willingly force your employees to stay late, praising this kind of behavior actually encourages it. When your employees fail to maintain a healthy work-life balance, their productivity and health will take a hit, and they’ll eventually burn out. It’s better to motivate your workers to value their off-hours and to develop a rich, fulfilling life outside of their work. This means granting them more vacations and breaks and more time to take care of themselves.
Eliminate the stigma
Being open about and encouraging self-care, stress management, and mental health in any form of communication, be that in email communications and meetings, can help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. When employees are safe and secure in the knowledge that they won’t get called crazy, get fired, or looked down upon if they struggle with depression or experience a panic attack, they’ll be more open to getting help for their issues.
Provide free and accessible screening tools
The biggest challenge for people with mental health issues is actually recognising signs and symptoms and getting appropriate treatment. It’s easy for most people to just wait until their problems go away on their own or dismiss their issues as merely stress-related. This is why it’s important to offer your employees free screening tools to help them assess their risk factors and encourage them to seek treatment.
Assist employees who seek help
Employees may not be as willing to admit that they’re making efforts to address their mental health needs. As much as possible, you should support any employee who takes the initiative to seek help. Make it clear to them that you approve of their decision to take care of their mental health. You can show them your support by doing things like allowing them to take mental health days or suggesting flexible work schedules to accommodate therapy appointments.
It may take a while before your workplace can fully normalise supporting mental health, but the first steps are always the hardest. It’ll only get better from there.