Mental health issues are so difficult to handle. Unlike a broken hand or fever, it doesn’t have any visual symptoms or signs. One can’t even have any idea whether his or her fellow is facing some mental issues as most of the time, the symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental illness are hidden.
To make the matter more complicated, individuals are usually reluctant to debate their psychological state, particularly at work. The stigma remains, whereas awareness is growing, and a lot of people (including celebrities) have begun to overtly share their personal stories.
Relating to all this, it has become essential to create a work environment that is supportive of the mental health of the employers. Building a culture that gives privilege to psychological well-being and providing relevant resources may help the employees and encourage everyone to improve their mental health.
Why workplace mental health is so important?
Most of the companies emphasise the physical health of the employees, such as dental plans, drug coverage, etc. But when it comes to mental wellness, there is some shortage in the current scene. Mental illness can impact physical illness too, such as blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, etc. I have previously mentioned that there are no symptoms of mental illness. An employee may suffer from stress and still do his work without anyone knowing about him. Healthcare surveys estimated that, due to depression, a worker loses at least 10% of days every year. This depression, stress, and other mental health issues make people less focused, engaged, and productive.
How can you help your staff members? Fortunately, there are some effective ways to help your staff while they are suffering from such issues.
Speak candidly about mental illness
First of all, to beat the stigma, let them understand that mental illness is not a taboo. Share your experience with your employees, whether you read about it somewhere, or watched a show on it, or any personal experience. Let them feel that they are not alone by talking about it openly.
Offer free screening tool
As we don’t understand the symptoms and signs, most of the employee’s mental health issues remain underrated. They may pass off this as stress, or they may convince that problems will go away on their own. Offering a free screening tool will help the employees understand their level of stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
Include all levels of staffs
To support all of your employees and make a work-friendly environment, it is important to care about all your employees’ well-being.
Allow your employees to take mental health days off
A healthcare survey shows that most of the staff hesitate to share their mental health issues with their bosses. Because many of them get negative consequences such as dismissals, negative images etc.
Make it clear to your employees that taking care of mental health is as important as taking care of their body parts. Offering them a day off or an easy schedule will clarify that you won’t penalize anyone for such activity. It will increase their thoughts and let them work more effectively.
Pay attention and help
If you see any of your employees in a low mood or behaving differently, ask them if they are okay or not. Even if they reply, they are okay, remind them that you are always with them.
If you provide your employees with outdated and irrelevant information, no matter how good they are, it won’t give you any good output. By updating your mental health resources, you will not only help yourself but for them too. Make sure they are up-to-date and accurate, too, and also contain practical pieces of advice. Your employees can use it to get better.
Facilities access to the resources
If it is difficult for the staff to find the information, they won’t use much of them. By eliminating the barriers to access such as variation of formats in the content (audio, PDF, video, etc.) and also reducing the steps to find it.
Some people may feel uncomfortable to discuss if they are facing suicidal thoughts, trauma, or addiction, though mental health issues might be normalized in the workplace. Assure your staff that their privacy is your top concern, and it won’t hamper their work life.
Design a mentally healthy work environment
Healthcare surveys and different medical data show that productivity, engagement, and overall wellness increases, and the staffs feel more comfortable with plants, natural lighting, and other positive features in the workplace. They feel uplifted by their work environment.
Focus on positive
If you have addressed mental illness positively and appreciate your staff, this will help your employees enjoy their work. Thus, they will be more productive.
Let your employees feel that they have a clear plan of action and are always there to help them. We all are together in this.
Elisabeth Andrew is passionate to write about women’s health, side-hustle for doctors, medical surveys, healthcare technology and machine learning in healthcare.