World Mental Health Day 2020: 5 tips to improve employee mental health

By admin | Nov 16, 2020

A recent study published by the WHO shows that globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, many of whom also suffer from symptoms of anxiety. Every year the global economy faces a loss of 1 trillion dollars due to loss in productivity at the workplace due to mental illness. Given that we spend the majority of our day at work, our experience in the workplace is unsurprisingly one of the most influential factors to our mental health.

Due to the stigma associated with mental illness, people are reluctant to discuss their mental health - especially at work. While the awareness around mental health and self-care is growing as more and more individuals and celebrities are openly sharing their personal stories, mental illness is still perceived as taboo in a country like India. That’s why employers must create a work environment that is open, welcoming, and supportive of their employees’ mental health. Sensitizing leaders within the company about mental illness, providing relevant resources and building a culture that prioritizes the psychological well being of employees will enable them to feel safe and encourage them to seek help when needed.

The importance of workplace mental health

It is a harsh reality that even today many organizations fall short when it comes to employee wellness. While many corporate programs emphasize physical health through benefits like health insurance, dental plans, and prescription medicines, we need to note that the physical body is just half the equation. Our brains are just as crucial to our overall well-being, especially considering the detrimental effects that mental illness can have on our physical health. When the mental illness goes untreated it manifests into diseases such as increased blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, and heightened risk of cancer and other diseases.

When an employee is suffering it will automatically reflect on their work. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues when left unaddressed result in people who are less engaged, focused, and productive.

Tips to help your employees

Being accepting and open about employee mental health is the first step in making your company a safe and welcoming place for your employees. Here are 5 tips that will help you improve employee mental health.

Speak openly about mental health.

Mental illness is not a taboo. Whether it’s an article you read on the web, a TV show you watched, or a personal experience that you had, talk openly about it. Discussing it freely and without shame will help others realize they are not alone.

Don’t stop discussing.

Once you open up about mental wellness, it only makes sense to keep on going. To build a workplace culture that respects and accepts mental wellbeing you have to nurture it. This means you cannot simply mention mental health once and expect it to catch on. Find multiple opportunities to incorporate the subject so that it stays on top of your employees’ minds.

Encourage employees to take mental health days off.

If your company has a practice of asking your employees to provide a doctor’s note to validate them missing work, then it’s time to stop. An important part of preventive health involves giving your mind and body a break every now and then. So allowing your staff to miss work in order to recharge can help them ward off more serious health issues down the road.

Prioritize confidentiality and anonymity.

Even though mental health might be normalized in your workplace, some people might still not feel comfortable discussing it, particularly if they struggle from addiction, trauma, or suicidal tendencies. Reassure your staff that their privacy is your top concern and that their use of mental health resources will not be monitored or tracked.

Design a mentally healthy workspace.

Research shows that there is a significant rise in productivity, engagement, and overall wellness when people feel comfortable in workspaces. Using natural lighting, plants, art, and other positive features can have an uplifting effect on your staff. Make available valid resources and contact details of mental health specialists so that your employees can seek help when needed.

Mental illness is a serious issue, but with the right tools and resources it can be addressed so that people feel understood, appreciated, and hopeful. This World Mental Health Day 2020, vouch to make the mental well being of your employees a priority.

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