Why Support Mental Health at Work?
If a member of the team is struggling with their mental health, their work will inevitably suffer. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world today, so it is now more important than ever to take the mental wellbeing of your staff seriously.
Just like you have a set of procedures in place to maintain your employees’ physical safety at work, it is important that you have a set plan for supporting mental health in the workplace. Here are some things you can do as an employer.
Create Space for Safe, Open Communication
Many people don’t feel comfortable talking about mental illness at work for fear that their employers or coworkers will see them as unfit, unprofessional, or unstable. Communicate clearly and often that this is not the case. There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness in our society, and as employers it is our responsibility to help change that. The best way to start is by talking about it.
Make sure that everybody on your team knows that it is okay (and very normal) to experience dips in mental health and that you want to do what you can to support them during difficult times.
Clearly Define Employee Roles
If a staff member is unclear on what exactly their duties are at work, or if what falls under their responsibilities is in a constant state of flux, this can cause a great deal of stress that can lead to burnout and mental illness. Make sure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and create an atmosphere where people feel free to ask questions.
Encourage Mental Health Days
Everyone needs a break now and then. Let your team know that their allocated sick days aren’t just for when they are bedridden with the flu. Make sure people know that if they are going through a hard time or are feeling burnt out and just need a day off to rest and recharge, they should feel free to take it.
Make sure your employees know what to do if they are struggling with their mental health. Many people simply don’t know what steps to take and are left feeling helpless. If mental health issues are not dealt with, they are likely to get worse. Educate your team on what to do if they find themselves feeling off so that they know what steps to take should their mental health take a turn for the worse.
You want your team to know what resources are out there for them if they need a little help. Supply your staff with info on relevant, accessible resources that they can take advantage of if and when they need to. Make sure that everyone in the office knows exactly what relevant treatments are covered by their health benefits (this includes everything from massages to therapy sessions). Find out about free and affordable mental health resources in your area and keep pamphlets somewhere in the office so that people can access the information easily and discreetly.
There are several mental health crisis phone/text lines for people to discuss anything they may be struggling with. Even if your employees aren’t comfortable disclosing their issues at work, you can post these numbers somewhere everyone can see them, so that the entire team has access to someone that they can talk to if they need it.
At Think Profits, looking out for one another is very important to us, which is why we actively support multiple charities that help those struggling with severe mental health issues. Learn more about us.