It’s ironic: a foundation for productivity at work – whether working well with fellow employees, advancing our own goals and projects, or growing into our next level of advancement – is good mental health. However, it’s a subject that, unlike the flu or an injury, is not expressed as a need for care when that arises. In fact, everyone, including the suffering employee, may prefer to keep that particular illness hidden, choosing not to acknowledge, not to treat or not to acknowledge treatment!
Why is this the case when it has so many repercussions and so many options for help?
A good place to start correcting this is by acknowledging Mental Health Month in your business; this is a thoughtful and proactive step towards creating a supportive work environment for your employees. Here are some ideas to help you acknowledge Mental Health Month:
- Raise Awareness: Educate your employees about mental health by sharing information and resources through company-wide emails, newsletters, or internal communication channels. Include facts, statistics, and tips for maintaining mental well-being.
- Organize Workshops or Webinars: Arrange workshops or webinars focused on mental health topics. Invite mental health professionals or guest speakers to discuss stress management, mindfulness, work-life balance, or other relevant subjects. Encourage participation and provide opportunities for open discussions. If this is an undertaking that seems beyond the size of your company, you might want to invite other owners or your local Chamber to sponsor these events.
- Implement Flexible Policies: Consider implementing or reinforcing flexible work policies that support mental health. This may include flexible working hours, remote work options, or opportunities for personal time off. Communicate these policies clearly to ensure employees are aware of and can utilize them when needed. The ability to schedule therapeutic appointments or literally, take a mental health day, can have a huge positive long-term impact for your business as well as the employees who utilize this option.
- Provide Mental Health Resources: Share a list of mental health resources available to employees, such as counseling services, helplines, or online mental health platforms. Ensure this information is easily accessible and visible to everyone.
- Create a Safe and Supportive Culture: Foster a culture that values mental health and promotes open conversations. Encourage employees to take breaks, prioritize self-care, and openly discuss any challenges they may be facing. Show empathy, understanding, and support towards individuals who disclose their mental health struggles. Conversely, not all will welcome this open approach and a guarantee of confidentiality will also encourage those who need it to get support.
- Encourage Self-Care Activities: Organize activities that promote self-care and stress relief, such as yoga or meditation sessions, virtual wellness challenges, or group walks. Openly recognizing the value of mental care and encouraging employees to take care of their mental well-being can help reduce stress and foster a positive work environment.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): If your organization has an EAP in place, remind employees of its availability and the services it provides. If you don’t have one, consider exploring options to provide professional counseling or mental health support services for your employees.
- Lead by Example: As a leader, prioritize your mental health and communicate its importance. Share personal experiences, if comfortable, to help reduce stigma and encourage others to seek support when needed.
Remember, acknowledging Mental Health Month is just the beginning. Maintain a continuous focus on mental health throughout the year and create an ongoing dialogue to support your employees’ well-being. Want more ideas that fit your situation? Please reach out to us anytime.