World Mental Health Day: Supporting Our Teams
The overall goal of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This year, World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th -- and now more than ever it is important for employers to support their employees’ mental wellbeing.
The pandemic and new working “norms” have had significant impacts on mental health. Coping with new work environments and uncertainty can lead to isolation, loneliness, a poor work-life balance, and languishing. According to World Health Organization statistics, about 450 million people live with mental illness and one in every four people will be affected by mental illness.
So what can employers do to support their staff? And how can employees prioritize mental wellness?
- Focus on Communication: With so many individuals working from home, it is crucial to promote healthy two-way communication about mental health. As an employer, checking in and touching base goes a long way. Don't be afraid to bring up topics related to stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. A caring conversation between a supervisor and an employee could be instrumental in encouraging an individual to get help. As an employee, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, let your employer know. They will want to help and support you or know how to access that support.
- Prioritize a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Especially when working from home, it can be easy to lose sight of the separation between your work area within your home and it can feel like the two have merged. Set boundaries between work time and leisure time, and use your free time to get out and exercise, relax, spend time with friends and family, or enjoy a hobby. If you feel like overworking is causing you to feel constantly stressed, tired, or sore, consider ways to make a change. Taking the up-front time to explore options to enhance your physical and mental health will only improve your career going forward. As a business, setting expectations that promotions will only come if employees work late and arrive early can hurt your company culture and lead to burnout. Employees that take time to care for themselves make better employees.
- Train your Team and Utilize Free Resources: Most mental health issues are left untreated because employees don't recognize the signs and symptoms. They may pass off their issues as "stress" or they may try to convince themselves their problems will go away on their own. Mental Health American offers free screening tools that can help employees anonymously assess their risk factors. Employees who recognize they're at risk for certain issues are more likely to seek treatment. Educate managers about the signs of mental health problems and train them to respond appropriately. Be sure to notify your team about available workshops, counseling, and webinars. For help finding mental health resources, call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741. If you’re in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
Mental health impacts everyone, employer and employee alike, and by talking to one another, and supporting each other – especially as we fight this pandemic – we’ll help promote good mental health.
RBA Staffing & Screening is a full-service employment and screening agency working with top employers and job seekers. Our expert team focuses on your needs to help achieve your goals throughout the hiring process and build a winning team. Our goal is to exceed your standards of excellence and forge a true partnership.