Ways to implement Mental Health Programs in the Workplace
I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health… My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. — Kerry Washington, HuffPost
Mental health has always been a neglected subject to discuss or have opinions on. But times have changed, and people are pretty forward to the topic now. In fact, this is why many mental health issues are coming to notice and getting resolved.
But why is mental health considered taboo?
Everyone has faced some turmoil, at least once in their lives, that has affected their mental health. Talking about it can make one feel lighter and relieved. So, it would be a good idea to be open about it and help one another to attain mental well-being.
Nowadays, workplaces also contribute to people's state of mind when talking about mental health. In workplaces, having a stable mental state is of utmost importance as it has an equal role in employee productivity, absenteeism, turnovers, etc.
But in the constant rush of meeting deadlines, attending meetings, and busy schedules–not to mention workplace politics and competition—lives become all about stress. Moreover, personal stress is still there as well. And all of these together often take a toll on mental health.
Thus, organizations need to play their part in supporting their employees in dealing with mental health problems. This blog will discuss how mental health programs can be a great way for employers to help their staff.
Mental Health Care in the Workplace
While corporates today have started focusing on employee health, their prime attention is mostly on the workforce being physically safe and sound. The corporate wellness programs employers initiate revolve around issues like walking, healthy eating habits, and whatnot. Amid all these, mental health issues take a backseat for people who do not consider them as important as physical health.
What we should know is that physical health gets affected without stable mental health. These days, there are various mental illnesses suffered by people all around the world. Both old and young people are struggling with these risks. A wide range of diseases affects us, be it substance use disorders or anxiety disorders.
As per research, half of the employees are dealing with a mental health disorder in the current world, which makes it a serious concern.
So, let's find out how prioritizing mental health can mean a lot to employees and why employers should start hosting mental health programs.
1. Physically active
When people are mentally well, their way of living transforms. Their routine becomes healthy, and they become more active and fit. Because physical and mental health are correlated. One cannot do without the other.
So, when employers implement mental health programs, they encourage their employees to participate actively. This develops a kind of motivation for them, helping them cope with any issue strongly.
This further boosts their physical health. The feeling of fatigue and laziness slowly fades away when one is in a good mood and state of mind.
2. Higher productivity
Productivity heavily depends on how you are doing mentally. If you are disturbed and not in the right mindset, you will not be giving your best in tasks. You would be either distracted and keep delaying tasks or deliver mediocre results.
This is going to hamper the business as a whole. So, this sort of situation can be eliminated with mental health services. Employees can be mentally rejuvenated and be at their most productive selves.
3. Healthy relationships
Workplace programs engage employees in various activities. When every employee takes part in an event, it boosts workplace camaraderie. They work together towards a common goal and motivate one another, forming healthy relationships.
Hosting programs on digital platforms makes things easier and more convenient. In the presence of a scoreboard, participants can check their progress along with others. These activities develop healthy competition and urge everyone to give their best.
4. No absenteeism
Being physically or mentally sound boosts your efficiency, as already mentioned. This also implies there will be fewer episodes of absenteeism. People will rarely take sick leaves.
As a result, employers will benefit too. We often see people taking mental days off to deal with all the stress.
While that’s not a bad thing, you can prevent them from taking frequent sick leaves by hosting mental healthcare programs. If they are mentally sound, they would be all energized and active to work instead of feeling sick.
Many times, poor mental health leads to workplace conflicts. A person under stress and not in a good state of mind is more likely to behave irrationally, which might not sit well with everyone. This can result in conflicts and unnecessary arguments, thus creating a toxic environment and hindering workplace friendships.
But with healthcare programs, employees are encouraged to bond and be open with one another.
6. Decision making
With the right mindset, people make the best decisions. Decision-making is an important task when you are leading a corporate life. And this task cannot be done effectively when overwhelmed with stressful thoughts and emotions.
Tips to keep in mind
Implementing mental health programs can greatly boost the workforce's wellbeing.
However, there are specific steps corporates need to follow before going forward with the programs in the workplace.
Knowing the intensity of the problem is necessary to overcome it. Usually, people become skeptical when the term mental health comes into the picture. Since it is more of an abstract concept, it often revolves around stigma.
And work-life does come with stress; how much we deny it. Employees struggle with work all the time causing workplace stress, more on the mind than the body.
You, as an employer, can come to their aid during problems as such. Educate employees about the whats, whys, and hows. If there is no mental health awareness at work, how should people know about it? To address a problem, people need to be made aware of the same.
Therefore, employers can resort to several employee education tools and provide resources, like mental health programs and workshops. Once employees know, they can relate, thereby building a kind of support network amongst themselves.
What can be a better way to understand the mental condition of employees than asking them yourself? Carry out surveys for their feedback about the work environment and whether there are work stressors. Conflicts with colleagues often lead to stress and other job concerns, such as work pressure and payroll.
To avoid similar situations, it is better to know what employees desire, which is possible only through employee surveys. The issues mentioned in the survey will give you an insight into how you proceed with workplace changes.
Because, in the end, who would know the situation better than the employees? A survey is an easy way for employees to open up and write their issues down.
Flexible Work Hours
Being an employer, if you are giving employees a sense of flexibility by allowing them to work at their own pace, what else would they need?
As it is known, corporates have started taking their workforce health very seriously, which is evident from the relaxation of work hours and offering work from home once a week. With this initiative, stress is bound to decrease, and productivity will rise.
If your employees leave work at the correct time and do not work overtime, stress will get reduced. The mind will be calmed and relieved. So, instead of putting too much burden pointlessly, let them work at ease and be at peace.
Mental Health Programs in the Workplace
Be dedicated to change the way in which people see mental illness at all levels of society. If not for yourself, advocate for those who are struggling in silence. — Germany Kent
Mental health programs are a part of wellness programs and can cover everything that boosts mental wellness. Following are some programs employers can start implementing to uplift mental health:
1. Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs should be in every organization to assist employees in resolving issues adversely affecting their performance. Employers can provide staff screening and counseling sessions for mental and physical health through these programs.
Besides, EAP would also make provisions for customized services for the employees based on their needs. These services would be in the form of quick responses to difficult and rising stressful situations at work.
Also, it would help to assure your employees that all their information will be kept confidential, and that there is nothing to worry about.
2. Wellness Programs
Mental health has much to do with physical activities directly correlating to heart disease conditions, diabetes, and so on. After all, the brain is a part of the body, and physical health means everything to do with the physique. That's how it's all connected.
Also, physical health is inversely related to company costs. It implies that the company's cost increases if an employee's health deteriorates. Employees with mental and physical health disorders are bound to incur more costs than those without such conditions. Corporations always benefit from low medical prices.
All you have to do is motivate your employees to keep their bodies moving, either by walking or running or participating in some other wellness activity. Mild workouts, as such, can prevent physical and mental disorders, including depressive episodes.
So, you can introduce wellness programs like walkathons or marathons regularly to engage your employees and give their best. Set proper targets for them to achieve. The more they participate, the more they will stay active.
3. Wellness Workshops
Workplace workshops are engaging programs that make employees conscious of their health and wellbeing. It is always interesting to know about something which you can relate to. For employees struggling with stress and trauma, workshops on mental health issues will make the event worthwhile.
As an employer, you might host a workshop or a seminar where you can invite an experienced wellness speaker or a wellness coach to whom people can look up. The expert can discuss the various mental health issues people struggle with daily and how to overcome those. Sessions like this are interactive and motivating enough for people to feel the positivity.
These sessions encourage employees to come forward and share their issues. Besides, hire a counselor to talk to the employees and discuss their issues, offering them appropriate solutions.
Along with this, you can distribute pamphlets, highlighting the prevalence and negligence of mental health.
4. Yoga and Meditation sessions
Yoga and meditation are great spiritual practices to calm a person and relieve them of negative thoughts. They make you fully aware of your body and mind and help them connect to your inner self. A person with a mental health disorder often needs this self-realization practice.
People need to connect with themselves, and these sessions will help them. Mindfulness and meditation boost spiritual health, too, together with fostering overall wellness.
Therefore, conduct yoga and mindfulness sessions occasionally and de-stress your employees. You can also use online wellbeing applications with features like guided meditation and yoga. These online features can enable your employees to meditate or do yoga whenever and wherever.
You can also ask your employees to take mindfulness breaks to get some fresh air to unwind and de-stress.
5. Fun and engaging activities
Hosting fun activities is one of the best ways to foster wellbeing at work. Have quizzes or potluck sessions and ask everyone to take part in them. Provide your employees with comfort and engage them in these activities.
In the game sessions, when everyone participates, there will be more interaction and communication. That further makes people bond with one another. These activities further can make them feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
6. Smoke cessation programs
Some people resort to certain harmful activities to relieve their stress and anxiety. With all the meetings and deadlines to achieve, employees might often find relief in smoking or tobacco consumption. That can turn into a habit and impact one’s physical and mental health.
Behavioral health disorders can seriously threaten both active and passive smokers. What employers can do to avoid these issues is introduce smoke cessation programs. These programs can assist individuals willing to quit smoking to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
They can also encourage the rest of the people to quit smoking through awareness sessions.
Suggested Article: Implementation of Smoke Cessation Programs in the Workplace
Mental Health with Vantage Fit
Being a full-fledged wellness platform, Vantage Fit is equally concerned with physical and mental wellness. This explains why it has features like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and mood meter.
The meditation feature enables you to take meditation sessions ranging from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. You can find different meditation techniques on the platform, from sleep meditation to self-awareness.
The mood meter enables the employees to check their mood status, and in accordance with that, employers can monitor the mental health of their employees.
The assessment of mood for a time frame will help employers know if their employees are going through a tough phase and falling prey to stress or other mental health disorders.
The concept of mental health and physical health are intertwined. One depends on the other. Thus, you should prioritize both and take effective measures to help your employees cope with their issues.
So, gear up and make the necessary provisions for your employees through mental health programs and see how enthusiasm and motivation build within them, leading to good performance and boosting mental well-being.
Vantage Fit - A complete AI-Powered Solution for seamless implementation of your Corporate Wellness Program to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce