In every office there is likely someone who is living and working with a mental health condition. Given that 1 in 5 people experience mental illness each year, there is an even greater likelihood that many employees are family members or friends supporting someone living with a mental health condition. HR can help ensure employees are supported in a way that strengthens workforce moral and maximizes productivity, while minimizing the occurrence of challenging incidents.
What do you need to know?
People who live with mental health conditions want the same things everyone wants—independence, security, good relationships, acceptance, and to contribute productively. An atmosphere of understanding, along with some basic accommodations, can go a long way in supporting an employee’s success. Concerned family members and friends also do better in an atmosphere where there is awareness about mental health conditions. All of these employees benefit from having information about helpful local community resources.
Top 3 Ways to Help Employees with Mental Health Conditions
- A culture of acceptance and awareness about mental health conditions. Employees and family members who feel supported in the workplace are better equipped to manage the challenges they face. “Normalizing” mental health conditions encourages openness, early intervention and empowerment.
- Medical policies that address mental health concerns. Mental health conditions are medical conditions. Employees facing medical conditions or health issues are offered access to basic care through a workplace clinic and are encouraged to seek medical care. The same options and encouragement should be provided to employees facing a mental health condition or crisis.
- Ready access to information about available community resources. A wealth of community resources exists for people living with a mental health condition and for family members and friends caring for a loved one living with a mental illness. One such resource is the powerful education program available to employees and managers: NAMI’s “In Our Own Voice” 60 to 90-minute workplace presentation. In addition, employees can access education classes and year-round support groups, at no charge to participants, throughout Northern Virginia.
In workplaces where mental health conditions are understood and support is available, employees—individuals and family members – are able to more freely seek the help they need to maintain focus, reduce stress and thrive in the workplace.
For Further Information:
Visit NAMI Northern Virginia to learn about education and support programs available to employees, at no cost to participants. Experience a glimpse of the powerful impact “In Our Own Voice” can have on employees by attending the upcoming NAMI Northern Virginia Business Luncheon. Show your support for mental health awareness by participating in NAMIWalks Northern Virginia 2015, held on September 19th at Tysons Corner Center.