According to research conducted by the World Health Organization, the U.S. economy loses around $1 trillion per year in lost productivity due to mental health disorders and illnesses. And an extensive study conducted by Mental Health America found a direct correlation among workplace environments, employee satisfaction rates, and mental health.
Each year, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that organizations of all shapes and sizes need to start promoting mental health awareness across their operations and departments. Below are some things you can do to help promote mental health awareness across your organization.
Endorse a Safe Space Without Stigmas and Discrimination
If you truly want to successfully promote mental health awareness among your employees, it is first imperative that you work to eradicate common stigmas and stereotypes associated with someone who has a mental health disorder. Have a no-tolerance policy for using terms like “crazy” or “psycho.”
Instead, encourage others to seek out the care they need when they need it. And encourage employees to form support groups and to talk to one another when they’re stressed out or going through a personal trauma. Strive to create a work environment that is welcoming and safe and not judgmental or discriminatory. Shockingly, 65% of employees from a recent survey claimed that they are distracted more than 30 hours a week due to a hostile work environment.
You should also make it common for employees to see paraphernalia about mental health benefits and programs your organization supports and offers so that it’s never seen as odd when someone reaches out to you about them. Make it clear that they’re always available to everyone, regardless of what their particular role or situation is, and that everyone goes through things sometimes and that seeking help is normal.
Help Employees Identify Mental Health Risks
As you promote mental health programs and initiatives across your organization, help your employees identify signs that they or one of their coworkers might be at risk for developing a mental illness before it’s too late.
For instance, heavy workloads, insomnia, extreme fatigue, substance abuse, and a personal trauma such as the death of a loved one or a divorce all have the potential to bring on mental illness when not appropriately dealt with or experienced.
Take an All-Inclusive Approach to Promoting Mental Health
It’s important to keep in mind that there is not just one cause for mental illness and that there are many types of mental illness. Some mental illnesses are biologically based, such as schizophrenia, dementia, or bipolar disorder. But others can be instigated by tragedy, substance abuse, anxiety, etc.
So, be sure to offer comprehensive programs and assistance for all types of mental illness. Some employees might require medication, while others will require counseling, and others may need some other type of assistance or benefit. Here is a great resource from the Mayo Clinic about mental illness.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, which will cover even more ways that you can promote mental health awareness across your organization.