It should come as no surprise that our mental health has a direct effect on our physical well-being. And just as smokers incur higher health care costs and miss more work days than non-smokers, people who suffer from stress, depression and other mental health conditions also affect a company’s bottom line. If you haven’t yet started, consider investing in a mentally healthy workforce. It’s time.
Consider the following strategies for improving mental health in your workplace:
- Provide a mental health self-care guide: As with a medical self-care guide, a mental health self-care guide can help people identify their symptoms, determine the best course for treatment, and be aware of warning signs that require immediate assistance.
- Communicate about your EAP, if you have one: Many organizations offer Employee Assistance Programs that provide assessment and counseling for substance abuse, emotional distress, major life events, financial well-being, elder care, and other work/life concerns. These services tend to be free and confidential to the employee, but they aren’t helpful if people don’t know about them. Make sure your people know about these programs and how they work.
- Audit your workplace culture: Is your work environment making your employees sick? Do your employees find their jobs stressful? How supportive is your company of healthy lifestyles? Improving your culture of health can be a first step toward helping your employees be mentally and physically fit.
- Get your people moving: Physical activity is one of the most effective stress-busters, mood-lifters and all-around outlook-improvers known to humankind. It’s also relatively easy to promote in the workplace. Start with a daily team walk indoors, around the campus, or in a nearby neighborhood.
- Education is everything: Consider on-site seminars for mental health issues such as healthy sleep habits, stress management, and financial wellness. You may also want to offer training for managers in recognizing signs of depression. This can help your team leaders refer screening and treatment services to those who may not realize they need it.