Hello again, and welcome back!
One of the hottest topics in Human Resources right now is mental health, and for good reason. According to the CDC:
“Mental health disorders are among the most burdensome health concerns in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 US adults aged 18 or older (18.3% or 44.7 million people) reported any mental illness in 2016.2 In addition, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.”
So, what can we do about it in the world of HR? There are actually quite a few ways to help with these problems right within your organization, and we’ve gathered up a few of the basics.
Familiarize Management with the Benefits
It might seem like a drop in the bucket, but educating managers on the benefits of an effective mental health program can dramatically improve the general health of an entire organization. By providing mental health options for your team, a company can often experience:
- Visibly-improved staff engagement
- Higher productivity rates
- Lower employee turnaround
- Smoother working relationships
- Lessened absenteeism
Offer a Mental Health Program
The first step in promoting positive mental health within your organization is providing your staff with options. Whether it’s through an employee assistance program or a different avenue appropriate for your company, offering mental health services (or access to them) to your staff is one of the most important ways to show that you prioritize their mental health and wellness.
There is an unfortunate stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness, and it’s one of the leading factors that prevent people from getting the help they need. Offering mental health services is, again, the first (very important) step, but once that is established, it’s essential to promote those services. When these services are consistently and deliberately promoted, it helps to normalize them within your company, creating a culture of support. The more the importance of mental health is discussed, the more normalized it will become.
Make It Accessible
Once your services are established, it’s important to make sure they are easily accessible by your staff. If people have to jump through excessive hoops or ask around in order to gain access or understand the services available to them, there’s a good chance they will simply abandon the process. The process of accessing mental health services should be easily found and understood and shared by management or supervisors. Removing the obstacles to receiving services increases the chances that they will be used.
Provide Training to Supervisors and Management
All of the steps listed above are important, but we also recognize that it can be overwhelming to actually make them happen. Providing people in management positions with the necessary training is a great way to make sure that everyone is on the same page and has access to the information and resources they need.
This topic is such a huge one to talk about, and we would love to hear about your experiences with it! Have you encountered effective mental health programs in the workplace? What was done right? What could have been improved?