Mental Health has become a buzzword in modern culture, but in reality, the importance and study of mental health has been around for nearly 180 years in America. It started as “mental hygiene” in 1843 and by the turn of the century it evolved to focus on “preserving the mind against all incidents and influences to deteriorate its qualities, impair its energies, or derange its movements.” (Mental Hygiene, 1962). Today, understanding mental health has vastly advanced and more of the population acknowledge being mentally healthy is as important to physical and emotional health. Fostering mental wellness in the workplace can only lead to positive outcomes.
Why It Matters
• Mental health effects work performance and job satisfaction.
• About 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness annually.
• 37% of employees said their work environment contributed to the mental health symptoms they experienced.
• From 2014-2018, employees showing symptoms of depression increased 18%.
• Mental health disorders issues cost employers $80-$100 billion a year in indirect costs.
How to Promote Mental Health in the Workplace
• Start with clear policies. Does your company display and enforce transparent messaging on health and safety policies and practices? Do you offer support for burnout, distress, or other mental health concerns? Is their a viable system against harassment and reporting it?
• Normalize mental health issues and concerns. This isn’t as hard as you think. You can start staff meetings with quick check-ins. Remind people to take deep breaths during the day. Offer to be an ear to your employees. Or share your own emotions, moods, and stresses to show you’re human too. Employees follow leaders by their words and actions.
• Offer mental health training to supervisors and managers. If you want a positive culture shift, it needs to come from the top down. Many organizations are offering Social Emotional Learning (SEL) trainings. If you need assistance with this, contact us.
• Add an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to your benefits offerings. These programs offer assistance to employees who may need extra care in their personal lives. Coping strategies, substance abuse, child or elder care issues, financial difficulties all can weigh in the mind of your worker. Adding this to your company shows you value your people.
Benefits of a Mentally Healthy Workplace
• Increased productivity, higher quality work, lower rates of absenteeism, higher retention and loyalty, reduced employer healthcare costs, and better relationships between employees and leadership.
Firm Foundation cares about you and your team. We have the tools to help. Please connect with us to see how we can boost your workplace culture and minimize your stress. Inhale. Hold. Exhale. (Repeat as necessary)