Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

“I need a mental health day,” isn’t a typical exchange in the workplace or a common request an employee asks for from their manager. However, 6.8 million adults have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), 6.7% of the U.S. is affected by Major Depressive Disorder, and the Attitudes in the America Workplace VII study showed that 80% of workers feel stressed on the job.

Nearly half of those who are stressed in the workplace say they need assistance managing it.  Still, many individuals are afraid to disclose such issues for fear of judgement from leadership and co-workers.

So how do you address mental health issues in the workplace? Start by having a conversation to de-stigmatize the topic.

While addressing mental health has increased due to the boom of overall wellness, addressing it in the workplace can be tough. In many work environments, individuals are working longer hours than ever before. The lack of disconnecting from the workplace can contribute to stress and anxiety, as well as, a lack of work-life balance.

When individuals feel overwhelmed, too stressed or anxious and they can’t ask for help – their mood shifts and their performance drops. Addressing mental health in the workplace not only helps to benefit employees and their overall wellbeing, it creates a balanced work environment, encourages people to thrive and improves performance.

To help de-stigmatize mental health and address wellbeing in your office, here are 5 tactics for HR and leadership teams to implement.

Leadership Trainings on Addressing Employee Mental Health – Leadership and management should be educated on general mental health issues in the workplace. By developing mental health awareness managers are better equipped to address employee concerns when and where it is needed.  Happy the App provides onsite workshops for leadership, management and employees alike to raise awareness for emotional well-being in the workplace.  To supplement their trainings they have on-demand “happy providers” to provide on-going support to your team.

Ensure Your Healthcare Plan Provides Affordable Options for Care- Individuals may need on-going care with a mental health provider. When reviewing your benefits plan, ensure that copays for mental health specialists are affordable for all employees.

Create a Balanced Work Environment –  Hustling is good- until it becomes too much. Overworked and overtired employees experience stress and anxiety. Make sure to create a balanced work environment that encourages people to take breaks/vacations, and to decompress. All work and no play will eventually take a toll.

Partner with a Virtual Mental Health Provider-  Sometimes finding a mental health provider can be challenging due to scheduling. Find a virtual provider that can help employees address their mental health and emotional well-being. Whether a virtual therapist or an app to help with guided meditation, employees will appreciate the option.

Take Routine Pulse Checks – Include a portion on emotional well-being in your company-wide survey. It’s a great idea to send these out quarterly to collect data and understand what issues employees experience day to day and what programs you can implement to address them.

While mental health can’t be addressed overnight, knowing that there are options for a safe space to speak with co-workers will greatly alleviate stress and anxiety for employees. De-stigmatizing mental health in the workplace is key to creating a healthy environment. Start the conversation.

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