Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health in the Workplace

According to Limeade, depression costs companies in America $44 billion in lost productivity. This includes $80 to $100 billion in direct costs each year due to mental illness and substance abuse. Keeping your company alive and afloat should always be one of your top priorities. Therefore, this information alone should be enough to drive home the importance of mental health in the workplace. It’s time to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. To do so, we must spread the importance of mental health practices so employees can thrive, not just survive.

Mental Health in the Workplace

Why it matters

There are numerous ways mental illness can emerge in the workplace. Poor mental health can have negative impacts on both performance and productivity. Consequently, these two traits are the most important qualities of an employee. Mental illness can also inhibit someone from being fully engaged with their work, resulting in poor quality work and out-of-touch employees. Additionally, poor mental health may prevent the person suffering from communicating with colleagues. If the work is at all physically demanding, they may not feel fully capable of these tasks when their mind’s flaring up. If any or all of these negative effects are taking place, the entire company will suffer to some degree.

How to improve mental health in the workplace

1. Designing a mentally healthy atmosphere

One easy way to encourage a mentally healthy workplace is by simply designing one. Whether that’s lots of windows to produce natural lighting, various plant life, yoga classes, and meditation or breathwork workshops. You may consider building a small gym, providing healthy snacks in the breakroom, encouraging connection and community (both within the company and with your local community). Incorporating fun and humor with events, games, and parties will also lighten up the overall mood. Finally, providing flexible scheduling and limiting long hours, allowing telecommuting, and creating quiet spaces for relaxation will all go a long way.

2. Programs and open communication

Laying out a sturdy foundation for your employees will ensure they get the right help that they need. This can mean supplying employees with optimal health insurance, creating mental health surveys, assessments, and programs, and providing lifestyle coaching or counseling (either for free or subsidized). Once these are put into place, watching out for signs of mental illness and keeping the conversation flowing will help end the stigma. This may look like asking how an employee is doing and kindly suggesting they seek the resources provided.

3. Encourage mental health days

Does your workplace currently have a doctor’s note policy? It may be time to scratch that one. Employees may experience burnout much quicker when they feel burdened with these kinds of restrictions. Preparing resources and keeping up the conversation around mental health will allow employees to feel safe asking for a mental health day. With burnout being almost inevitable in this action-oriented and ever-growing fast-paced society. It’s important to note in this scenario that culture starts at the top and trickles down. Everyone’s got to be on board.

4. Focusing on the positive and keeping things confidential

Remaining open-minded and empathetic will encourage those struggling to receive support. Move past the surface level with your employees and colleagues and allow real connections to occur. As homo sapiens (not robots), we are hardwired for this. Make gratitude and appreciation a dominant emotion and expression within your company. Normalize opening up to others as much as you can while also ensuring that doing so will remain confidential for those still uncomfortable with it. If they seek resources that you’ve provided, ensure them that these will never be monitored, tracked, or used against them in any form.

Ending the stigma

It’s time to stop only prioritizing physical health and wellness. Companies and communities must promote and prioritize mental health as well. This is especially true in the workplace, where many of us spend a majority of our time. Even if your business or company is small, it will still produce a trickling-out effect. Utilizing programs and open communication will encourage the breaking of the stigma. Creating a healthy, positive, but also safe atmosphere will equal happy and productive employees. Implementing mental health behaviors and activities in the workplace will not only save you financially but will ultimately create a healthier and happier society.

Additional Reading: New Mental Health Training for Managers

Blue Sky Counseling Omaha

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss gambling addiction services in Omaha today.