Any employee is susceptible to mental illness, and it costs organizations billions of dollars every year from absenteeism and reduced productivity. Human resource professionals can be a strong line of defense in preventing mental health and substance abuse issues in the workplace. Here are some proven strategies for promoting mental health in the workplace.
Form Employee Resource Groups
A growing number of employers are leaning on business resource groups that are dedicated to mental health. HR departments are encouraged to provide employees with a safe space to discuss sensitive issues associated with stress, depression, and anxiety complete with communication ground rules. Business leaders also must ensure employees feel welcome and included during times of uncertainty. If you provide employees with the right resources and communication tools, then they will feel supported. Some employees are going to be reluctant to join resource groups because of the stigma attached to mental illness. Businesses should prioritize mental health initiatives like this and focus on educating everyone that mental health experiences are common to reduce the stigma.
Offer Free Screening Tools
Companies that promote online screening tools are able to quickly detect possible mental health conditions among their employees. For instance, employees that are feeling overwhelmed with sadness are encouraged to take a depression test to receive a quick snapshot of their mental wellbeing. Then, employers can help get them on the road to recovery by referring specific treatment options and employee assistance programs. Anxiety and addiction tests are some other common screening options. Employees shouldn’t get penalized for trying to improve their mental health. We’re seeing more businesses update policies to improve mental well-being by allowing employees to request mental health days and more flexible work schedules.
Instead of sending employees to a therapist, try hosting workshops a few times per year to improve self-care, stress management, etc. Employee resilience training continues to grow in popularity. If you want a stronger workforce, then focus on improving the work environment by allowing autonomy, rewarding good work, and setting realistic goals for employees to achieve.
Promoting mental health is important because the overall capacity of your organization depends on employee well-being. Even though you can’t control genetics and past trauma that might contribute to mental health issues in employees, you can still help them build mental strength by providing the tools and resources that will help them flourish.
by Ruben Moreno
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