4 Steps to Improve Your Employees’ Mental Health
Mental health has been receiving a lot of news coverage over the past year – and for good reason. Mental health and substance abuse are costing employers up to $105 billion each year. And one in four individuals are likely to have a mental health issue during their lifetime. Taking steps to help your employees improve their mental health will improve productivity, employee retention, safety, healthcare costs and the overall health of your organization. There are four strategies employers can develop to address mental well-being:
Talk about mental health issues. For many employers, mental health is a topic that may seem too private to address, but employers can be a great resource for employees who need help. Remove the stigma from mental health by discussing it and letting employees know that there are many individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression. Taking steps that make it okay to talk about mental health may encourage employees to seek help. Teach managers and supervisors to recognize the signs of mental health issues and make sure they know what to do if one of their employees is struggling.
Develop policies to encourage work/life balance. Encourage employees to take a break from work during the day – stepping away from their responsibilities to enjoy lunch or take a walk outside. Limit overtime when possible and working from home after leaving for the day. Implement mandatory vacation time and have employees put an out of office response on their email. Allowing employees to step away from work, refresh and recharge, will improve their mental well-being.
Incorporate mental health in your employee wellness program. Your wellness program may do a great job helping employees eat better and get more exercise, but does it include programs that help employees improve their mental health? Wellness programs are a great opportunity to focus on different aspects of mental health. If your wellness provider has a technology portal, the portal will often include educational materials about mental health issues and offer resources for employees to seek help. Technology can be a great addition to your wellness program because employees are able to seek help confidentially, making it more likely they will reach out.
Make sure employees know how to get help. Address mental health in your open enrollment materials. Make sure employees know what benefits are available to them and how to access these benefits. Promote mental health services and resources that may be offered by your EAP. Include this information in flyers posted in common areas, highlight them in your organization’s newsletter and include them on your Intranet.
Wellness Workdays works with employers across the country to implement programs that address mental health issues. Contact us to learn more.