Mental Health in the Workplace: 5 Supportive Workplace Culture for Mental Health
May 2023 has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. Not one of us can say we’ve worked somewhere that was free of mental health issues. From upper-level executives stressing over financials, to hourly associates not making enough money to live, to violence in the workplace, all of us have experienced mental health issues in the workplace. Mind you, most of us spend more time at work than we do at home, so is it any wonder? That thought, in and of itself causes a great deal of anxiety.
So, how do we help? How does your workplace assist you and your coworkers with mental health concerns? Here are a few items of note to be aware of for mental health in the workplace:
- Benefit offerings- make sure your benefits include mental health. Going one step further and ensure that your employees are aware that mental health is included in their benefit package. Does your tele-doc plan also offer mental health in this way?
- Education and Training- make sure your managers know how to handle someone in crisis. From an article we reported back in March, managers have more impact on mental health than therapists. Make sure your managers and supervisors know what to do when someone approaches them with a crisis. Help them learn to distinguish between a mental health crisis and a work related crisis.
- Local resources- do you know what is available locally? Most localities have a long list of available resources. Where to start? Try the chamber of commerce. There are always the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing or texting 988. For a helpline warmline near you, try warmline.org Warmlines are called that because they are more than a helpline, a warmline is a phone number you call to have a conversation with someone who can provide support during hard times.
- Time off- ensure your employees are actually taking time off. Taking time off to decompress is a great way to deal with stressors found in the workplace. Having to deal with a mental health challenge while also dealing with workplace stress, yikes. Encourage employees to take time off that they’ve earned. Long gone are the days when employees earned recognition for not taking any time off. Then we have things like bereavement and victims of violence time off. What can your company offer?
- Remove the stigma- a recent survey found that 46% of employees feel they can openly speak about mental health challenges without fear of consequences. The more we are able to speak freely about mental health at work, the better chance of directing them to resources available.
Some workplaces are able to take it a step further and fully embrace Mental Health. This year, Mental Health America (MHA), which is a nonprofit dedicated to mental health awareness, and has been around since 1909, is asking everyone to “Take Some Time to Look Around and Look Within”. MHA’s 2023 Mental Health Month campaign is focused on how surroundings impact mental health, and we are calling for individuals to look around, look within.
Topics that MHA specifically address include:
- Safe and Stable Housing
- Healthy Home Environments
- Neighborhoods and Towns
- The Outdoors and Nature
MHA helps people understand how these topics impact mental health, provides tips for actions people can take to change their surroundings in favor of their well-being, and suggestions for how to cope if change isn’t realistic.
TOOLKIT NOW AVAILABLE!
MHA’s May is Mental Health Month Outreach Toolkit has been created to help individuals and organizations work smart as they plan for raising mental health awareness during the month of May.
MHA has already done the leg work and listed out potential activities that you can do, written newsletter articles, created social media images and post language, come up with email signatures and zoom backgrounds, and made fact sheets, worksheets, posters, and a tip calendar (and more) for you to share.