May was National Mental Health Awareness Month, an entire 30 days dedicated to helping eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness by raising awareness of mental health conditions and those who have them.
Typically, discussing mental health is not a top-of-mind water cooler conversation, but it needs to be. There is a stigma that goes behind the typical worker. You go to work, you do your job, and you go home. Some believe that the workplace is just a job and there are no implications from a regular 9-5.
However, no matter what line of work you are in, there are many stressors that arise in the workplace.
Here are some to name a few:
- Tight deadlines
- Meetings with executives, directors, or other staff
- Presentations, reports, or large projects
- Communication/expectations with team and staff
- Workflow and adaptability
These stressors (and many more that I didn’t list) can be potential triggers for mental health issues. Plus, the stressors from the workplace can contribute to issues in your life outside of work.
We often hear the phrase, “You never know what someone is going through, till you walk a mile in their shoes.” This is so valuable for understanding or at least empathizing with what your employees and coworkers may be going through on a day-to-day basis.
The best advice I can give is to be mindful and bring awareness to your team’s mental health, show your support, and strike positive dialogue within your company about the importance of mental health care. Here are a few steps you can implement to offer more support to your employees.
- Learn more about mental health- Mental health cases are on the rise. In 2021, 47 million Americans suffered from a mental illness. Knowledge is power. The more you learn and stay up to date about mental health conditions, the better you can assist your staff members in need.
- Offer support to your employees- Offer confidential resources available for every employee. Health insurance companies have resources and services available for assistance. Offer an open-door policy, whether that is with HR or an executive, so employees feel comfortable if they need to ask for assistance.
- Share with your company the importance of mental health- Encourage positive conversations about mental health awareness. While providing yoga classes and walks outside for staff is a step in the right direction, making resources readily available for your employees is more valuable. Your staff needs a good amount of paid time off and great health insurance options so they can visit a doctor if needed at a low cost. Some programs offer televisits with therapists and psychologists online to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office. Make sure your staff is well-suited for medical coverage and online assistance when they need it.
- Offer flexible work from home/hybrid schedules- Mental health care starts with the person in need. It may look different from person to person, but when applicable, offering a WFH or a hybrid schedule can help staff members manage a better work/life balance. Taking away the stress of commuting and participating in water cooler conversations can help those experiencing mental illness symptoms. In the office, offer a quiet place where staff can decompress and step aside from their desk. Think of it as an alternate workspace or a break area. This area should be quiet, comfortable, and relaxing. Offering a safe space to relax in the office is a great way for staff members to take a breath and let their minds relax.
Here are a few online counseling resources to offer your employees:
- BetterHelp– BetterHelp is a great online resource for therapy and mental health resources. They have a ‘Mental Health as a Benefit’ program that will provide your employees with the tools to better cope with their personal challenges and maintain a healthy work/life balance while helping you battle the hidden productivity killer in your workplace.
- Cerebral– Cerebral has many positive reviews and offers the same online counseling and psychiatry offered in a traditional doctor’s office. Overcome anxiety, depression, and insomnia with online care. Plus, your employees can get help with or without insurance.
- Talkspace– Talkspace offers individual therapy, psychiatry, and a place to work through life events. Available with most insurances and they offer flexible plans. Additionally, Talkspace has an option for individuals or businesses. They have 2.9 million members in therapy, medication, assessment, healthy living support, and self-help tools.
Keep in mind, mental health is something you should be mindful of year-round, not just in the month of May. 1 in 5 adults experiences mental health issues each year. The more attuned we are to the importance of mental health care, the more we can assist and offer help to those around us in need. I hope this offered you a few helpful mental health care tips, stay tuned for more!
If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please use these hotlines below for immediate assistance:
For Emergency Medical Service, please call 911.
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Options for Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255