With the alarmingly high rates of stress, depression, anxiety, and other similar challenges in the U.S., you may not be surprised to learn that mental health is the leading source of workplace absenteeism. From fatigue and low energy to poor morale and decreased productivity, employees' psychological health is likely a bigger deal than many employers recognize.
When you stop to consider the impact employees’ mental health has on your company’s bottom line, it begs the question: is your company doing enough to help employees with their mental health challenges?
Mental Health in the Workplace Scorecard
While it may not be your company’s obligation to solve employees’ psychological issues, your attitude and work environment may determine their willingness to seek help. Assess your company’s mental health culture by asking the following:
- Does my company offer benefits that include mental health services?
- Do we have a standardized procedure for addressing concerns?
- Are managers trained to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health issues?
- Do we provide resources for employees to learn about psychological health?
- Does my company encourage employees to speak up if they’re struggling?
- Do we offer an employee assistance program (EAP)?
- Does my company promote the importance of mental health?
- Do we offer general workplace stress mitigation tips?
- Do I regularly check in with employees about the psychological resources we provide?
- Do we regularly communicate the mental health initiatives we provide to employees?
If you answered “yes” to at least 7 of the above questions, your company is considered supportive and at low risk for concern. If you answered “yes” to only 4-6 questions, your company has room for improvement and deemed moderate risk. Anything less than 4 “yes” answers is considered unsupportive and at high risk for challenges.
After evaluating your scorecard, consider which areas you do or don’t have power to change. Any effort to promote awareness is a great step towards destigmatizing mental illness and encouraging employees to reach out for help when needed.
Strategies to Help Employees Thrive with Mental Health Challenges
You can also encourage employees to improve their personal health by promoting the following strategies:
- Create healthy routines. These include getting enough sleep and eating a nutrient-rich diet. Start with small changes, as old habits are hard to change overnight.
- Own your feelings. Take time to identify your feelings instead of being overwhelmed in emotions. You may want to talk or write out what you’re feeling. This will help you better cope with challenging situations.
- Connect with others. Whether in person or virtually, connecting with others helps enrich your life and power you through tough times. Lean on your friends and support group.
- Cultivate gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal, meditate, or make it a point to thank people in your life. Practicing gratitude is linked to improved mental health.
Being open about mental health and encouraging employees to take care of themselves will help avert unforeseen problems.
Despite progress over the last few years, there’s still a negative stigma behind mental health that creates a barrier for employees to get the help they need. Start the conversation and suggest your company do more to provide adequate support.
For more ideas, please contact your certified HR expert. Not a current Stratus HR client? Book a free consultation and our team will contact you shortly!