More than three in four U.S. employees have dealt with issues negatively affecting their mental health. Even more American workers are experiencing mental health impacts from both the pandemic and the racial justice movement this year. Unfortunately, many organizations lack an environment supportive of mental wellness at work.
Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, can take a serious toll on employees overwhelmed with both work and home life. By prioritizing mental health in the workplace, employers can improve employee satisfaction, well-being and productivity while ensuring a safe and positive working environment. Here are some strategies for improving mental health in the workplace:
Include mental health coverage in your healthcare plan.
Offering medical coverage for mental health is just as important as covering physical health. Avoid choosing a healthcare plan for your employees that offers “phantom” mental health coverage. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great way to offer your employees mental health support outside of insurance coverage.
The American work culture has been criticized by other countries for its long hours, lack of vacation time or family leave, and infrequent breaks or social time, among many other unhealthy work habits. Promote a culture of work-life balance that allows for flexible working and mental health days. Encourage healthy habits, such as nutritious eating and physical activity, by providing healthy vending snacks or on-site exercise classes.
Provide access to mental health resources.
Create a safe place for employees to talk about mental health, ask questions and get help. As an employer, it’s important that leadership is emotionally available to discuss mental wellness at work. Provide your employees with up-to-date tools and resources. Use candid communication to reduce stigma, and incorporate the topic of mental health in your day-to-day conversations or meetings.
Create a positive environment.
Help people struggling with mental illnesses feel understood, appreciated and hopeful by creating a positive work environment. A positive work environment promotes growth and reinforces good work performance. Provide a stress-free atmosphere where employees feel comfortable speaking up and leaders provide open, honest and encouraging communication.