One of the most unfortunate challenges that some individuals have been facing as a result of the pandemic is it’s taken a toll on their mental health. As a result, employee mental health is now a front-and-center issue for most organizations to address.
One of my company’s goals is to reduce employee burnout, and it has taken steps to optimize and improve our employees’ mental wellness and work with different schedules. For example, the live meditation, stress management, and fitness sessions offered are available at a wide range of times and then recorded, so they’re available to watch through our on-demand library.
However, the stigma around mental health and speaking up about stress at work, combined with concerns of economic instability, means we’re far from normalizing mental health conversation in the workplace. The following are 3 small things companies can do to start making mental health a priority in their workplace.
- Know what the symptoms of depression are. Ensure your HR team is well-versed in symptoms of depression—which is more than just being sad or having a bad day. People who have depression may experience severe exhaustion and fatigue, difficulty focusing, feelings of emptiness, sadness, guilt, withdrawal from others, and sleep or appetite changes.
- Encourage education. The stigma around mental health and speaking up about stress at work, combined with concerns of economic instability, mean we’re far from normalizing mental health conversation in the workplace. Provide training to leaders and supervisors on effective ways to reduce stress, and create practical goals for optimal performance and communication. Help leaders and managers provide a safe space for those struggling to create a positive and open culture.
- Tell employees about available services and programs available to them to help manage their mental health. Many workplaces have employee assistance programs that include confidential mental health services. You can also provide employees with links to hotlines, such as the Crisis Text Line, or online therapy services, such as BetterHelp and TalkSpace. Additionally, mindfulness or meditation training can be helpful for everyone’s mental health. Meditation is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety, train the brain to regulate emotions, and help people learn how to handle stressful situations. Plus, it’s now convenient and portable, thanks to online apps such as Headspace, Whil, or Calm.