Although the workplace is rarely regarded as the best place to be, especially on a bad day, it shouldn’t be a place your employees dread being in. According to experts, workplace stress is the leading cause of mental health issues. If employees are able to manage their stress levels, they could also improve their mental health and overall quality of life.
Like a contagious disease, mental health issues in the workplace can be spread. It’s possible for managers to encourage their employees to adopt certain harmful behavioral and emotional patterns. High-stress workplaces can lead to stressed, overworked employees, increasing the likelihood that your team deals with conditions like depression and anxiety. When one person is anxious, it can easily rub off on the rest of the team.
It’s also possible to improve your employees’ mental health by implementing a culture that supports their well-being. This can help boost their productivity and creativity. Below are some practical steps managers and business leaders can take to improve the overall impact their work has on employees’ mental health.
Assess Existing Issues
Training managers to identify the signs of emotional distress can help them react more effectively to their employees’ issues. For instance, if an employee is feeling stressed, a supportive team member might suggest taking a break, helping break the cycle of anxiety.
Take the time to understand and assess the mental health of your employees. Having trained on mental health is also a must for leaders to be more aware of their team’s well-being. These can be sensitive situations, so it’s crucial to train managers on how to respond appropriately if they see one of their team members struggling.
Using mental health calculators can help estimate the prevalence of substance abuse and depression in your workplace. You can also use surveys to measure the effects of stress and depression on your employees’ productivity. Make these anonymous so employees feel safe answering honestly, and use the results to gauge if your office needs a culture shift.
An employee assistance program, or EAP, is a type of insurance that provides employees with support and resources to help them manage their personal issues. Unfortunately, many companies don’t offer these types of programs, and studies indicate that usage is low.
Although an EAP might provide some support, it’s typically not enough to provide professional help. Instead, a coaching program like BetterUp can help individuals develop a personalized mental health plan. Through its Whole Person Model, BetterUp helps individuals improve their mindsets and behaviors. Whatever you choose, ensure some level of support and resources are available to your employees, educate them on how to use those resources, and remind them often.
Integrate Mental Health Insurance Coverage
Before signing up for insurance, learn about the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act, which requires plans to cover mental health conditions that is no more restrictive than medical conditions. Also, make sure that all plans include a health savings account. Provide employees with instructions on how to look up in-network psychologists and psychiatrists, so they know where to start if they need some extra support and treatment.