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Tips for Prioritizing Mental Health at Work - By Christopher Raley

Now more than ever, people are recognizing the role that mental health plays in job performance and employee satisfaction. The pandemic really brought this issue to light. So much so, in fact, that the U.S. Surgeon General released a new framework for focusing on the relationship between work and well-being.

The following tips can help your company prioritize mental health in the workplace by offering assessments, making self-care tips available, providing access to life coaching, and more.

Provide Mental Health Assessments

Prioritize mental health at work by providing employees with access to mental health assessments. Employees may experience stress-related symptoms and not even know it or not be able to express it as such. An assessment can help employees clarify what they are experiencing or give them an incentive to seek out mental health treatment through a doctor.

A Mind Share Partners survey of mental health in the workplace in 2021 reported that 76% of working adults had at least one symptom related to a mental health condition, such as feeling anxious or having a stress-related headache.

Know What Employers Are Required to Provide

Assessments show that you care about your employees’ mental health, but being clear on what you are legally required to provide your employees is also important. The U.S. Department of Labor is a great resource for learning more about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) as it relates to mental health treatment or how employees can receive Family and Medical Leave Act benefits for a mental health condition.

If you need help understanding what you are required to provide, contact HR Solutions LLC. Sometimes these laws can be confusing, which is why HR Solutions offers resources, training, and clarification.

Know What Needs Employees Have

As mentioned in the introduction, the newly released Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being provides a framework of five essential actions businesses can take and the basic human needs that these actions address.

For example, establishing protection from physical and non-physical harm addresses the basic human needs of safety and security. Other needs, according to the Framework, include social support, autonomy, dignity, the need to continue learning, the desire for accomplishment, and more. When these needs are met, the result is a positive mental health experience at work.

Train Managers to Recognize Signs of Depression or Stress

Knowing the needs of your employees is more than just understanding basic human needs in the workplace. There will always be specific needs that come up, and managers and supervisors are typically going to be the first people to address these needs.

Provide managers with the training to recognize the warning signs that employees show when feeling stressed and how to address these issues sensitively, such as by encouraging stressed employees to seek help if they feel they need it.

Provide Mental Health Resources for Employees

There are many practical resources that you can make available for employees who are experiencing mental health issues. These resources can include workshops on self-care practices like stress management to help them reduce anxiety and increase focus. Such practices may include deep breathing exercises or mindfulness.

You can also make access to professional resources such as life coaches or counselors easier by offering them for free or partially employer-paid. There are also self-care apps that you can direct employees to, like Headspace and Worry Watch.

Final Thoughts

After the topsy-turvy world of the pandemic and the financial, physical, and emotional stress it wrought, it is more important than ever that employees see the business they work for as a safe place that views their mental health not as a burden but as an opportunity to contribute to their growth. This, in turn, will encourage people to be the productive employees they want to be.

Author Bio

Christopher Raley is a content specialist with Ark Behavioral Health, an addiction treatment provider with locations in Ohio and Massachusetts. Ark Behavioral Health provides a range of treatments for addiction and mental health, including inpatient drug rehab and outpatient treatment services.


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