An employee’s mental health encompasses how they think, feel and act. It also includes their emotions and social well-being. While mental health does include mental illness, these two are not interchangeable.
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness annually;
a recent study by Deloitte revealed that less than half receive treatment.
It has also been found that mental illness is the leading cause of disability for adults in the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 44—making more work days lost to mental health-related absenteeism than any other injury or illness.
The discussion of mental health has been more popular in recent years with the tagline of “end the stigma,” this discussion will only keep growing as society realizes that not all illness are visible ones.
So what does this mean for employers?
It is important that organizations create a culture that supports its employees and their mental health. This process is easier than one might think. Below are five easy ways to implement support at your organization:
- Promote Mental Health Awareness in the Office
- This is the first step in supporting employees and their mental health. There must be awareness and de-stigmatizing of mental health or illness. Provide resources / information to employees and those seeking support.
- Offer Flexible Scheduling
- Help employees better balance their work and personal lives by embracing workplace flexibility. This will look different at every company but provide employees with job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance and less stress.
- Address Workplace Stress
- Chronic workplace stress can cause fatigue, irritability and health problems. While it’s probably not possible to eliminate job stress in its entirety for employees, you can help them manage it more effectively.
- Evaluate Your Benefit Offerings
- Review the benefits you offer and make sure they support mental well-being. Also evaluate your current health plan to see if it covers mental health services.
- Provide Mental Health Training for Managers
- It’s important to properly train management in recognizing the signs of mental illness, excessive workplace stress, workplace bullying and fatigue. Furthermore, managers should be trained to handle potentially difficult conversations with employees surrounding mental health.