Why workplace mental health matters

Many organizations fall short when it comes to employee wellness. While it’s great that most corporate programs heavily emphasize physical health through benefits like dental plans and prescription drug coverage, the body is only half the equation. Our brains are just as crucial to our well-being, especially considering the detrimental effects mental illness can have on physical health, such as increased blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, and heightened risk of cancer.

When an employee is suffering, so does their work. Depression has become the leading cause of disability across the globe, and it’s estimated that 172 million workdays are lost due to depression each year. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues compound this problem, leaving people less engaged, focused, and productive.

How you can help your staff

  1. Speak candidly about mental health. The first step to beating the stigma is to stop treating mental illness as taboo. Whether it’s an article you read, a show you watched, or a personal experience you had, talking about it openly and without shame will help others realize they aren’t alone.
  2. Keep the conversation going. Workplace culture must be nurtured, which means you can’t just mention mental health once and expect it to catch on. Find multiple opportunities to incorporate the subject into your employees’ day so it stays top-of-mind.
  3. Include all levels of staff. As we mentioned in a previous article, culture starts at the top. Your employees won’t believe that you genuinely care about their well-being unless every manager and executive also demonstrates the importance of mental health.
  4. Encourage employees to take mental health days off. If you still require your employees to provide a doctor’s note or otherwise “legitimate” reason for missing work, it might be time to stop. Part of preventative health involves giving your mind and body a break every now and then, and allowing your staff to miss work in order to recharge can help them stave off more serious health issues down the road.

Continue to follow the Work In Progress blog for more ways you can help your staff


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