Supporting Employee Mental Health | Next Steps
Supporting employees’ mental well-being is essential for your business, and requires strategic investments of time and money. Once you’ve laid down the foundation of providing a mentally healthy and welcoming company culture, you can begin to improve employee mental health beyond the minimum offering for the good of your company and everyone who works there.
You may have mental health resources in place, but are they easy to access? Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are a valuable tool to support employees, but research shows that while EAP services can successfully improve a range of employee issues associated with lower productivity, a low percentage of employees use them. To maximize employee engagement in EAPs, regularly audit your EAP to ensure you are providing the maximum benefit to your workers. Use multiple methods to communicate to employees what services the EAP provides, what topics EAP professionals can cover (i.e., stress, mental health, finances, family issues), and that EAP services are available and confidential. It’s important to use messaging that normalizes the use of mental health benefits and removes any possible barriers for employees.
Another way to support your employees is through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), which can help managers and supervisors assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis. MHFA teaches people how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health issues and substance use challenges. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, more than 2.6 million people across the United States have been trained in MHFA by a dedicated base of more than 15,000 instructors. Offering MHFA training to all employees equips your entire organization with mental health knowledge and fosters empathy and understanding.
Fostering a welcoming and inclusive workplace also helps employees to feel a sense of belonging and contributes to a healthy work culture. Using inclusive terminology, and implementing employee resource groups (ERGs) can help to create a space for underrepresented employees to find one another, share common experiences, and seek advice. It will also help employees and managers to recognize and celebrate a variety of identities, making everyone feel seen and included, thus providing a healthier and happier work environment.
You can also support employee mental health by simply encouraging them to unplug, and take time off. Providing company-wide mental health days help employees to decompress and take time for themselves, which will help them to be well-rested and ready for work.
The final aspect of improving employee mental health support is to continue evaluating outcomes, and adjust your policies as needed. Keep the lines of communication open for feedback, after all your employees are the heartbeat of your organization, and your best resource for understanding how to improve the well-being of your business.
To read the full American Psychological Association article, click here.
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