While mental health is often a taboo subject, it’s one that shouldn’t be avoided in the workplace – particularly now when competition for top employees is tight.
Why is Promoting Mental Health at Work Important?
Did you know that poor mental health can cause higher levels of disability and unemployment?
It has been estimated, according to the National Institutes of Health, that in the U.S., poor mental health costs the economy an estimated $193 billion per year. Additionally, mental illness, workplace stress, and other risk factors can:
Decrease productivity, creativity, innovation, job performance, and team morale.
Increase work accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, and difficulty in meeting deadlines.
How Can HR Leaders Foster Positive Mental Health in the Workplace?
1. Provide Stress Management Programs and EAPs
Stress is a challenging trigger that can cause mental pressure as well as physical ailments such as headaches, heartburn, and insomnia. Introducing stress reduction initiatives like meditation classes, yoga, mindfulness training, and resilience-building workshops can increase mental health.
HR Leaders can bring mental health specialists in house or provide external resources such as subscriptions to meditation, relaxation apps, or stress management guides.
Additionally, companies can partner with an EAP (employee assistance program) that offers mental health resources, referrals, and confidential counseling.
2. Ensure Health Insurance Policies Include Employee Mental Health
One of the best things that can be done to address mental health is encouraging better health insurance, especially those that are able to cover mental health concerns.
Most of the time, employees don't seek mental health support due to the cost. This burden is eased by improving mental health coverage for counseling, therapy, and psychiatric services. It is also important to clearly communicate mental health benefits and, where possible, guide them on how to use mental health services within their coverage.
3. Develop a Supportive Work Culture
Open and honest communication about mental health conditions create a safe space and reduce stigma for employees. Train managers and supervisors in ways to have supportive conversations, which helps employees feel more comfortable to ask for help when needed.
4. Encourage Work-Life Balance
It is essential to encourage self-care prioritization. This starts with setting clear expectations around work hours, then walking the talk by honoring an employees’ time and boundaries. These two simple actions demonstrate that an employee’s time is respected, helps manage stress and promote employee wellness.
Maintaining a Healthy Environment
Once you’ve developed and nurtured your healthy environment, it is important to:
Conduct assessments or anonymous surveys that measure stress levels, well-being, and satisfaction with the current initiatives;
Use the data to identify areas that can be improved and tailor mental wellness programs for their specific needs; and
Communicate the results regularly, demonstrating that the employees are dedicated to improving their well-being and that the organization is committed to doing so.
HR Coach is Here to Help
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Get in touch with us today to learn more!