Mental Health Awareness Month has come to an end for the year, but that doesn’t mean the conversations should end. Leaders should create an environment where mental health can be talked about, be receptive and understanding, and provide resources.
Mental Health Awareness Month has officially come to an end for the year, but that doesn’t mean the conversations should end. It’s extremely important for employers to take a quick pause and look at how all of the things happening in the world have impacted the mental health of their employees. The pandemic alone has shown a worldwide 25% increase in anxiety and depression, but that shift can often go unnoticed in the workplace. As a leader in your company, it’s important to think about how you and your company can positively impact the wellbeing of your employees.
As we continue moving forward into the post-pandemic world, more people are returning to the office, and it’s even more important for leaders to make the conversation surrounding mental health more prevalent. As leaders, we should consider how we can create a nurturing environment for employees where they can thrive and improve their mental well-being. We need to make sure to check on our employees and co-workers as we would for a friend or family member.
So, here are 3 ways that workplace leaders can address mental health:
- Create an environment where mental health can be openly talked about
The ability for your employees to work efficiently throughout the workday can be dictated by their mental wellness. We’re all human, so we understand that things sometimes come up that trigger people’s health, whether that be emotionally or physically. When times get tough, your employees should feel safe opening up to you or other coworkers for support and help. There are times where it might not be about what you say, but rather, about what you do that can make a difference. One way that you can create an open environment is to schedule mental check-ins where people can form groups with others to discuss best practices for overcoming trial and tribulations. Another example would be for leaders to create an anonymous suggestion box where their employees can discuss how the workplace could improve. Reorganizing the workplace could be another way to provide your staff with a more relaxed and tranquil environment. When employees feel safe and supported, they’re more comfortable expressing themselves. This comfortability can allow your employees to be their best self everyday, positively impacting their productivity and camaraderie.
- Be receptive and understanding of mental health struggles
The conversation surrounding mental health is not a new one, but it is becoming a more prevalent one. Not everyone struggles with mental health issues, but it’s still important for everyone to be educated about what mental health difficulties can look and sound like. They don’t present themselves the same way from person to person, so it can be hard to identify. Consider asking insightful questions or admitting that you don’t know as much as you’d like to about mental health struggles. This will allow your employees to feel seen and ultimately become a better ally and supporter for mental health improvements in the workplace.
- Provide accessible and welcoming resources
As conversations about mental health become more prominent, it has required leaders to dedicate more resources to supporting the emotional well-being of their team. These benefits and resources shouldn’t be daunting or complicated for your employees, they should be easy to use. One way to promote long-term wellness and address mental health needs as they rise is to provide staff with regular access to a counselor, therapist, or help hotline. Leaders should also recognize that just as an employee may need a day off due to a physical health issue, they also may need to take a day off for their mental health. It’s important to allow employees the flexibility to consider their emotional needs and ensure they feel comfortable asking for this time off as needed.