How to Foster Mental Health Support For Employees
Whether or not you know it, there is likely someone on your team who struggling with a mental health condition. One in 5 people experience mental illness each year. Everyone can benefit from awareness about mental health in helping to reduce the stigma.
As a business leader and as an organization, it is especially important to normalize the conversations of mental health, stress, and overall wellbeing among your team. Did you know that serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year?
When employees feel comfortable discussing the challenges they may be facing and feel supported by their managers, you strengthen trust, morale, and productivity overall.
3 Ways to Help Employees with Mental Health Conditions
- Establish a culture of acceptance and awareness about mental health. Mental illness can be caused by biological factors, stressful or traumatic life events, and/or long-lasting health conditions. Sometimes mental health conditions can last a lifetime, and for others, it could be situational and short-lived. As a leader, it's really important you set the tone at the top. Be vulnerable, empathetic, and educate yourself and your team on mental health conditions and the symptoms. Normalizing mental health encourages openness, early intervention, and empowerment.
- Institute policies and benefits specific to mental health. Are your current workforce policies and benefits reflective of your intention to support mental health? Consider the flexibility you provide with schedules, remote work options, and PTO, for example. Also, partner with your benefits broker to ensure your benefits are inclusive of mental health resources for your team. And then share your EAP benefits along with any other resources proactively and often so that your team members know where to find them when they need them.
- 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 coworkers supporting someone living with a mental illness. To get started on collecting resources for your team, we recommend checking out NAMI and Mental Health America.
In workplaces where mental health conditions are understood and supported, employees more freely seek the help they need to maintain focus, reduce stress, and thrive in the workplace.