Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace

The Facts About Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 300 million people worldwide who suffer from depression and anxiety. A recent WHO-led study revealed that depression and anxiety are the leading causes of disability and they cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Negative work environments can cause or worsen stress, depression and anxiety, which leads to lack of focus, reduced productivity, and poor overall health. There is a way to help end the cycle, though. By promoting mental health and supporting employees with mental disorders, organizations can improve their employees’ overall health, reduce stress, reduce absenteeism, and increase productivity.

How to Promote Mental Health

Mental health can be improved and managed through programs within your wellness plan. Here are five suggestions from The Bailey Group for assisting your employees:

  1. Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Incorporate an employee assistance program that offers screening, counseling and referral services for mental health and other issues. The best EAPs are the ones that are flexible and can be customized to each employees specific needs. Be sure to inform employees that this information is confidential and will not affect their job security.
  2. Educate and Screen: Educate all employees on the signs and symptoms of mental illness and the methods of treatment. Not only for themselves, but also to reduce stigmas and confusion about mental disorders. It is also important to offer mental health screenings, either through their primary doctors or through your EAP.
  3. Encourage all employees to be active: Physical activity can help reduce the symptoms of mental illness, as well as prevent further symptoms. It is also great for your employees’ overall health. Consider creating a sports team, scheduling walking meetings, give longer lunch breaks so employees have time to eat and take a walk, or you can offer gym memberships at reduced prices.
  4. Conduct surveys: By conducting frequent employee surveys, you can learn what the current stressors are for your employees. It could be anything from conflicts with fellow workers or managers to heavy work loads, but knowing what is causing your employees stress can help you decide what needs to change.
  5. Create a supportive environment: Having a supportive environment is extremely beneficial for those who have a mental disorder. Consider incorporating social support among employees, such as an organized support group that meets regularly. You can also try providing training on problem solving, effective communication, and conflict resolution to support the mental health of employees. Most importantly, always treat all employees with respect and dignity, regardless of their mental condition.

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