Employers Can Help with Mental Health
Mental health is essential to a person’s overall health and well-being. A healthy mind and body can help individuals work to the best of their ability and reach their full potential.
The pandemic has given employers an opportunity to be more supportive and understanding of the difficulties employees may be experiencing, however, a stigma still exists concerning mental health conditions.
To help reduce this stigma, employers can support employees by ensuring the safety of individuals, being open about any mental health struggles they might be dealing with themselves, offer flexibility in scheduling and time off, and ensure employees have treatment options and resources available to them, if needed.
There are several ways employers can support their employees’ mental health. One way is through leadership modeling. Being open with employees about any mental health struggles they themselves might be dealing with and showing that vulnerability to employees may help reduce stigma and allow for the employee to be more open about their own struggles. When people come forward with concerns regarding their mental health, it is important to respond with acceptance and validation of those concerns.
Employers can offer flexibility by giving employees time off to get vaccinated
and to deal with any possible side effects. Flexibility can also be offered by helping employees prioritize critical work. It should not be expected that work and productivity will continue as it was before the pandemic. There should be clear communication about expectations and any new policies. Offering flexibility can give employees more peace of mind and reduce stress.
Another important way em
ployers can help support mental health concerns is to provide employee treatment options and resources. Some employers offer employee assistance programs which may include treatment for mental health concerns. Another resource for employees to utilize if they have a mental he
alth condition is Mental Health Employee Resource Groups (MHERG). Even just the existence of these groups can help normalize and reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace.
The pandemic has given employers an opportunity to better address mental health concerns at the workplace. Employers can help reduce stigma and open a conversation regarding mental health thr
ough acknowledgment, offerings of support by ensuring employees are aware of the resources available to them, and through reasonable accommodations.
Although non-professional support can be helpful, sometimes additional help is needed. The best thing to do if you are feeling a hinderance on your mental well-being is to reach out and get help. This may be through a primary care provider, a mental health center, an employee assistance program, or other available resources. Resources can be found at www.mental-health-recovery.org. If you or someone you know is in distress or experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 help line at 330-678-HELP.