Use these tips to increase awareness and better support the mental well-being of your employees.
You never know what’ll be thrown your way on any given day. There may be times (and these days it may seem more often than not) when you and your team find yourselves taking on heavier workloads to keep operations running smoothly and to ensure your community members continue to receive the services they rely on.
While some may say that it’s just part of the job, the work can be extremely demanding—which can take a huge toll on mental health.
As public servants, keeping your mental well-being in check will be critical to carrying out your work. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health issues can greatly affect businesses and their employees.
Poor mental health and stress can negatively affect an employee’s:
- Job performance and productivity
- Engagement with their work
- Communication with coworkers
- Physical capability and daily functioning
CDC findings also show that, when it comes to mental illness such as depression, only 57% of employees who report moderate depression and 40% of those who report severe depression receive treatment to control symptoms.
Fortunately, you can make a difference! By promoting mental health in the workplace, you have the opportunity to fight the stigma and provide the support needed to help boost the emotional well-being of your staff. Below are 4 ways to help make that happen.
#1 - Create a culture of awareness
Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health can prevent someone from ever seeking the help they may need. You can help combat this by creating a culture of awareness that shows employees you’re prioritizing their mental well-being—and encourages them to do so, too.
Some action steps that the CDC suggests include distributing fliers, brochures and videos to all employees to educate them about the signs of poor mental health and detail ways to get help, or host seminars to address depression and stress management techniques. Taking steps such as these can help someone get back on the right track to a healthier mindset.
#2 - Making support services accessible
Making it easy to access support services and programs is another key to increasing mental health awareness in the workplace and can encourage team members to take action. Some steps employers can take include offering the following to employees:
- Free mental health self-assessment tools and professional depression screenings
- Health insurance with no or little cost for depression medications and mental health counseling
- Self-management programs and lifestyle coaching
By offering these tools and resources, you’re showing your team members that you’re there to support them while giving them the opportunity to take the proper steps towards better mental well-being.
#3 - Training supervisors in a flexible workplace
So you’re starting to notice that an employee who you consider a “go-getter” is taking shortcuts in their work. Maybe their motivation has been lacking lately and their attitude has shifted from optimistic to pessimistic. You notice they’ve also been putting those sick days to good use, so you ask yourself, “What do I do?”
While some cases call for disciplinary action, training your supervisors to identify emotional distress and have honest conversations with struggling employees could prove to be a more effective approach. These trained supervisors can then implement strategies to help those in need, which, as suggested by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), may include:
- Making employees comfortable talking about their mental health
- Encouraging employees to seek out mental health treatment when needed
- Assuring employees that there’s no judgment or disadvantage for seeking treatment
- Ensuring private, confidential discussions—which also helps build trust
- Rewarding and praising an employee for proactively addressing mental health issues and utilizing workplace resources
You shouldn’t wait for problems to start occurring before lending a listening ear, though. Regular touch bases will be key to staying on top of mental health in the workplace.
#4 – Hosting consistent touch base meetings
How often are you and your managers touching base with employees? A supervisor who regularly checks-in not only has the opportunity to build stronger relationships, but can also gain some valuable insights on the mental well-being of their employees and better identify those who may be struggling.
If you come across someone in need of support, find out what you can do to help. It could be something as simple as breaking up their workload to take some of the weight off of their shoulders or encouraging them to take advantage of the resources and services provided by your organization.
Serving others through your work can bring a great sense of satisfaction, but it can be increasingly demanding and end up greatly impacting mental health. Practice these tips and show your team members that you’re there to support and care for their mental well-being, just like they support and care for their communities.
Submit a Comment