Providing mental health support at work means creating a workplace where all employees are empowered to do good work, be successful, and contribute to the team.
In this article, we'll address how mental health affects employees on the job and how to support these employees.
Mental Wellness Support for Employees
What is Mental Health Support at Work?
Most health insurance covers standard mental health support such as mental health counseling sessions or prescription drug coverage. But mental health support at work can go beyond that.
Mental Wellness Areas to Support
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions
Mental health issues are covered in a social stigma that makes people who are suffering feel isolated, ashamed, and fearful. By addressing that stigma head-on, employers can help their workers thrive in the workplace.
Why Do It?
When people are dealing with tough mental health conditions, it's challenging to navigate through work and life. Supporting employees dealing with these conditions means a healthier workplace for everyone, and allows people dealing with mental health problems to contribute meaningful work to the world.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety disorders. Close to 50% of those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will also be diagnosed with depression, and vice versa.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another condition that makes it very difficult to keep a job, much less excel at it. Workplace support for employees with PTSD can help them succeed on the job.
How to Provide Mental Health Support to Employees
In our series of interviews with wellness professionals and HR directors, we heard about how some leading companies are providing mental health support to their employees.
- Lecture series
- Relaxation sessions
- Regular massage to reduce stress
- Lunch and learn topics
- And even a whole month dedicated to mental wellness
Encouraging and allowing for a good work-life balance for employees is also key to making the workplace less stressful and more productive. This could mean offering flexible schedules, telecommuting options, or unlimited vacation days.
Another idea for mental wellness at work is to offer private support groups run by an outside facilitator. And anonymous mental wellness surveys might be helpful too -- get a gauge on how your employees are doing on the job and if there is any support they'd like from the company.
It's also important to note the link between physical activity and mental wellness. A simple walking club could make a big difference. This could be a group of staff members who meet for a walk around town during the lunch hour. This creates a boost in good-feeling endorphins and encourage a social atmosphere that can be helpful.
If you're feeling inspired by these ideas, talk with a mental health professional about starting a similar program at your company.