The mental wellness of employees plays a distinct role in the overall success of an organization. It is also essential for the employees' professional and personal growth. According to the The World Health Organization, about 15 percent of working individuals globally are leading their lives with poor mental health.
Moreover, around 12 trillion working days are estimated to go down the drain due to employees struggling with poor mental health. With this, workplaces are believed to endure a loss of about US$ 1 trillion yearly due to poor work productivity.
It is said that battling extreme work-related stress for an extended period may lead to poor mental health. Stress is part and parcel of professional life. However, the power lies in the employers' hands on the work stress their employees will experience.
For instance, working individuals should not feel negative going to the office, thinking about the work stress. Instead, they should look forward to working productively at the office.
The key to unlocking such a positive attitude among employees is uplifting mental wellness at the workplace. This is a very crucial element, and enforcing it is the need of the hour.
Given its significance, we have curated a guide that will discuss everything you need to know about mental wellness in the workplace.
The Importance of mental wellness in the workplace
There was a time when corporate leaders and employers encouraged the concept of hustle culture. Over the years, the priority has shifted. And today, leaders are working towards uplifting mental wellness, which is a part of employee wellness.
Before we dive into the details, it is worth mentioning that poor mental health does not necessarily mean having a certain mental illness.
The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as a positive state of well-being, allowing individuals to tackle external stressors, work productively, and climb the stairs to success.
So, below are pointers that shed light on the importance of mental wellness in the workplace.
The state of being able to work productively, with creativity at its peak, is a blissful moment for employees. Besides this, meeting deadlines becomes easier. For most individuals, booming productivity only emerges when the mind is clear and positive at work.
For instance, employees who feel negative about their workplace won't be able to work at their maximum capacity.
Mental and physical health are separate entities yet have a close relationship. Hence, employees with positive mental health tend to live healthier lifestyles. This allows them to maintain a healthy and fit body.
Employee agility is defined as when employees can seamlessly adapt to changes in the work environment. In doing so, they can continue to work well and meet deadlines. This can be achieved by promoting mental wellness in the workplace.
Better work culture
The current generation, who seek jobs or are already employed, is particular about an organization's work culture and environment. Gone are the days when employees used to work wholeheartedly in harsh work cultures.
Today's employees take work culture seriously more than the pay scale. They value mental health more than anything. Hence, employers should enforce policies that elevate their employees' mental health.
The general view of employees now is they feel motivated and positive about going to a workplace that values their mental peace. Considering this, corporate leaders should change their management strategies to suit the change in employees' mindset.
The Impact of mental health issues on individuals and organizations
The notion of having mental health issues still holds a lot of stigmas. It is high time that we break the chains of mental health stigma. With that intent, we have listed below how mental health issues impact employees and organizations.
Low energy levels
Employees with mental health issues lose the zeal to take ownership at work. They may also suffer from a condition known as burnout, which causes physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion.
Also, employees feel reluctant to get out of bed and prepare for work or abstain from participating in office activities. As a result, the organization won't reach its desired position in the market.
It is well known that companies calculate their foreseeable profits based on the manpower they possess. So, if one or more employees fail to work productively, an organization will not achieve its goals.
Every employee plays a vital role in the company's success. However, a company with high employee absenteeism will witness a downfall in its overall growth.
Other than this, absenteeism also affects the employee's professional development. Because the less they will work, the less their productivity will be at work. In turn, this puts forward added work pressure on the other employees, increasing the attrition rate.
Poor work performance
Employees battling mental health issues struggle to give their best at work. This is one of the most commonly observed repercussions of poor mental health. Why so? Such individuals lose the ability to tap into their creativity and their productive side. As a result, they perform poorly at work, putting their career at risk.
This eventually causes the organization's growth to decline, and corporate leaders may not be able to reach their monthly or annual goals as planned.
Prone to chronic diseases
Mental health has an undeniable connection with physical health. Research suggests that people with depression are highly prone to osteoporosis. There is no clear-cut answer yet if you are wondering the reason behind this.
So, if you keep your employees under too much stress, pushing them to depression, they may eventually develop several chronic illnesses such as diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. It will again impact the organization negatively since such employees may have to take leaves frequently or avail of other medical benefits.
The goals and objectives of the guide
In finding out the importance of mental wellness in the workplace and how mental health issues can affect employees and the organization, we hope you can grasp the urgency of this topic.
To further enlighten your mind, we have curated this detailed guide where you will learn about -
- Various mental health issues
- Signs of mental health issues
- How can employers promote mental wellness in the workplace?
- How can employees practice self-care for better mental health?
- Corporate tools that employers can deploy
- Tips for creating a successful mental wellness action plan
Understanding Mental Wellness
When we hear "Mental Wellness," we immediately think about happiness. But it is more about stability than happiness.
Mental wellness is achieving a positive and balanced state of mind. It implies coping with difficult situations effectively without giving in to the stressors. It combines the emotional, spiritual, social, and psychological aspects of wellness and balances them.
Positive self-esteem, awareness of our potential, a sense of purpose, and healthy relationships form mental wellness. All these factors can affect the way we feel, and lead our lives. So, once we understand and work towards achieving a stable state of being, our mental health improves.
However, mental wellness does not mean the absence of mental illnesses. A person with poor mental health does not necessarily have to suffer from mental illness. Similarly, someone with mental illness can sometimes reach a state of well-being.
Even in our work life, stress often compromises mental health. During such times, work efficiency suffers, hampering the entire work culture.
Therefore, being in a state of mental well-being is of utmost importance to work productively and contribute to the community.
The basic elements to foster mental wellness are eating healthily, exercising regularly, maintaining personal and professional relationships, and getting the right amount of sleep. Not to mention knowing when to seek help.
Common mental health disorders
More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Mental disorders or illnesses are conditions that disrupt our cognitive functions, emotions, and behavior. They affect our moods, thinking, and feelings, which may obstruct the proper functioning of our bodies. These disorders can significantly impact our lives by affecting our everyday routine, work productivity, relationships, and overall health.
Various factors can cause mental illnesses. They can be due to genetics, trauma, brain chemistry, or environmental influence. Different kinds of treatment, lifestyle changes, and medication exist to fight these disorders.
Some types of mental disorders are-
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions people go through. It is a feeling of worry, fear, and tension regarding a current or future situation. Fast heartbeat, sweating, and trembling are physical responses to stress-induced anxiety.
The feeling of anxiety can be mild or very severe. Especially if it's persistent, it can affect normal functioning, and one should seek professional help.
There are various types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - A condition where one is constantly stressed and worried about several concerns regarding work, life, health, relationships, and so on. This condition often interferes with daily activities and must be addressed immediately.
Panic Disorder - An anxiety disorder involving sudden and recurrent panic attacks due to fear or discomfort. It is common for people to panic in certain situations, but if your panic attacks occur more than once a year, you are more likely to have a panic disorder. Other anxiety conditions also have panic as their symptom, but panic disorder is different. This does not occur along with other anxiety symptoms on the list.
Social anxiety - The condition that makes one fearful of getting judged, criticized, and embarrassed on public platforms is known as social anxiety. People who find it difficult in public speaking or who sweat, tremble, and blush in social situations are most likely to have social anxiety.
Phobia- This type of anxiety disorder results from excessive fear of a particular object, activity, or situation. It can be due to some past traumatic experience or might be without any trigger as well. Some of the types of phobias are-
Social phobia- Fear of social situations like public speaking, meeting new people, etc.
Specific phobias- fear of specific objects and activities like heights, flying, swimming, etc.
Claustrophobia- fear of closed spaces like lifts.
Agoraphobia- fear of situations that one cannot escape, such as public transportation.
Separation anxiety - is a psychological condition that occurs when someone feels distressed about getting separated from another person or a place they feel attached to. The mere thought of separation also causes fear and worry. For example, a mother leaving her child at home while going to work can develop separation anxiety for the latter.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue involving periods of mood swings with extreme highs (mania or hypomania) or lows (depression). Those periods of emotional state are called episodes, sometimes lasting for days, weeks, and months.
When the mood is in a depressive state, one tends to feel intense sadness and hopelessness, fatigue, change in appetite, unhealthy sleep patterns, and lose interest in activities, even those they enjoyed earlier. In depressive episodes, one might even have suicidal thoughts.
In a manic state, a bipolar person would feel high energy and euphoria, be impulsive, and engage in risky activities. Such mood swings affect a normal life and cloud judgment and the ability to think clearly. Bipolar occurrences can happen once or multiple times a year.
Hypomania is a milder version of mania and lasts for shorter periods than manic episodes, which go on longer. Whereas mania is severe and has a bigger impact on your life, hypomania, even if challenging, would not create major problems in your daily functioning.
Bipolar I - At least one manic episode that might or might not be preceded or followed by any hypomanic or depressive episode.
Bipolar II - At least one hypomanic and one depressive episode, but never a manic episode.
Cyclothymic disorder - having episodes of hypomanic and depressive episodes in childhood and teenage years over 2 years. Although cyclothymia does not seem to be severe enough, it has the potential to develop into bipolar I and bipolar II.
Rapid cycling - 4 or more episodes of hypomania or manic, depressive thoughts in a year. Rapid cycling refers to the cycling of moods between manic periods and stable periods. This condition is also called a mixed episode, implying frequent mood changes on the same day or at the same hour. One experiences mixed episodes when they go through depressive, manic, or hypomanic episodes simultaneously or one after another.
Seasonal patterns - Experiencing mood swings at a particular time or season of the year.
Depression is a serious medical issue that affects a person's mood, actions, and quality of life. Depressed people feel a certain level of hopelessness, disinterest, and sadness.
Depression is a persistent feeling that changes one's way of seeing life. Things one once enjoyed do not seem appealing anymore, and there is a change in appetite, sleep patterns, and weight.
It affects physical health and hampers activities and the ability to function smoothly. It can be mild or severe. However, it is important to remember that depression and sadness are not similar.
Grieving about a situation like losing someone or ending a relationship is not depression. It is a momentary pain, whereas depression lasts longer than 2 weeks and interferes with daily functioning. It can even develop suicidal thoughts due to feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.
Also, certain medical issues can have similar symptoms of depression, such as thyroid, vitamin deficiency, and tumors, so it's important to be sure.
Depression can occur due to environmental, biological, and psychological factors. Certain brain chemicals can give rise to depression, or sometimes it even runs in families. Additionally, people with a pessimistic approach and low self-esteem or who have gone through abuse and neglect are likely to experience depression.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health disorder that develops in people who have experienced or witnessed a terrible event they cannot let go of. PTSD makes people live in fear, even if they are not in danger. They are constantly reminded of those events through nightmares and flashbacks.
Experiencing a traumatic event and finding it difficult to cope with it is natural in the initial days. But with time, people recover with care and space. However, if the trauma persists and one cannot adjust and lead their life normally, even after several weeks or months, they mostly have PTSD.
PTSD can occur to anyone due to situations like physical violence, sexual assault, or other life-threatening events. Even losing a loved one can cause PTSD for someone.
To know if you have PTSD, you need to have this for at least a month:
- One re-experiencing symptoms like flashbacks or nightmares.
- One avoidance symptom like staying away from places and people involved in the past incident.
- One reactivity symptom like getting easily startled and angry.
- Negative thoughts about yourself, guilt, inability to enjoy activities, and forgetting details about the incident.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes an inability to focus or inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. People with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, and they are known to act rashly without putting in any thought.
ADHD usually affects people during their childhood, but sometimes, it gets diagnosed later. It interferes with one's day-to-day activities regarding time management, coping with stress, completing tasks, being impatient, and acting on impulse. It often hampers professional and personal relationships, as well. Besides, ADHD people might even experience sleep and anxiety disorders.
There are normally three types of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive: Difficulty in focus, concentration, and organization. Making silly mistakes and having poor listening skills.
- Predominantly hyperactivity/impulsivity: Taking decisions without thinking about consequences.
- Combined: Both inattentive and hyperactive.
Also read: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD, called Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from brain differences. People having ASD behave, interact, and communicate differently than others. Mostly diagnosed early, ASD people suffer from communication and interaction challenges and show repetitive behaviors.
However, people with ASD have certain abilities which vary for every person. For instance, some people might have advanced verbal skills, while others might not communicate.
Although people with autism face several challenges daily, they excel in many areas, like superior memory, creativity, accuracy, motivation, and problem-solving.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that disrupts our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Schizophrenic people reach a point when they almost lose touch with reality and have psychotic episodes where they often confuse what is real. This mental illness combines delusions, hallucinations, and abnormal thinking and actions, making it difficult to engage in daily activities and function smoothly.
People with schizophrenia may experience episodes of false belief where one might think they are extremely famous or some catastrophe will occur. Some even hallucinate and see and hear things that do not exist. These people even lose the ability to express emotions, plan, find joy, and sometimes show abnormal movement. Hearing voices is one of the most commonly seen symptoms in a schizophrenic patient.
As the name suggests, eating disorders are a group of mental health disorders involving abnormal food intake- either excessive or insufficient. This type of mental health condition comes with consequences and sometimes is fatal. This negatively impacts one's health and emotions by disrupting normal functioning.
Persistent eating disorders are often caused by excessive focus on body shape and weight. Such disorders restrict nutrition from reaching one's body. Eating disorders lead to several diseases regarding the heart, digestive system, bones, and teeth and are life-threatening too.
Some eating disorders include-
Anorexia nervosa: It is a condition distinguished by abnormally low body weight and extreme fear of weight gain. Anorexic people always see themselves as overweight and thus go to extreme lengths to control food intake by limiting calories and eating as little they can, and doing excessive exercise. This often leads to self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
Bulimia nervosa: Bulimia refers to binge-eating too much food at once due to a lack of control over your urges. In this phase, one often tends to skip meals and then eats excess food quickly. After that, they start feeling shame and guilt and try to get rid of those calories in unhealthy ways like forceful vomiting or using laxatives.
Binge-eating disorder: This condition is characterized by excessive eating and having no control, thereby feeling guilt later but not doing anything to compensate. One eats but does not try to eliminate those calories by exercising or fasting. Instead, they isolate themselves and eat alone in embarrassment.
Restrictive food intake disorder: This condition is not due to fear of weight gain or loss. Infact, one has no interest in food here, so they often avoid certain foods. It leads to getting deprived of nutrients, which restricts body development and can give rise to health issues.
Suggested Read: How to Host "Eating Disorder Awareness Week" at your Work?
Dyslexia is a learning disability caused by differences in the brain area that processes language. Dyslexic people find it difficult to read at a pace without mistakes. They have problems identifying speech sounds and their relation to letters and words.
However, dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, and these people can do very well in academics, provided they have a good tutor and emotional support. Even they can be as smart as their contemporaries.
Dyslexic people often have problems with fluent reading and are slow. But they understand it when they are being read to. Their primary problem is with decoding words. They can't match letters to sounds.
Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD)
OCD is defined by two factors- obsessions and compulsions. Also known as Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, OCD is a condition that makes one have uncontrollable and recurring thoughts and fears, leading one towards repetitive behaviors. Having unwanted thoughts or obsessions is repetitive, which can cause anxiety. To combat that, one tries to perform compulsive actions to reduce that anxiety.
Ignoring those obsessive thoughts causes more distress and compels one to respond compulsively. In short, obsessions are unwanted thoughts and fears that keep coming back. Compulsions are the responsive and repetitive behaviors to those obsessions.
People often think that OCD makes one a germaphobe who tries to avoid germs and obsesses with hygiene. That is, however, not true. Not all OCD people have a problem with that.
There are four types of OCD -
Contamination OCD: This type of OCD makes people scared of falling sick and spreading germs. These thoughts are obsessive and are way beyond normal hygiene practice. For example, people with this type usually keep washing their hands until their hands feel dry and rash and sometimes bleed.
Self-doubt: People with this type of OCD possess low confidence levels regarding their memory. For instance, you lock the door when going somewhere, but once you get into your car, you keep thinking about whether you have locked it. You check it multiple times until you feel the task is completed. That occurs when you have OCD.
Arranging: This type of OCD is more about order and symmetry. People with this type can spend hours arranging one particular object until they feel it's perfect.
Unacceptable thoughts: A person with this kind of OCD has intrusive thoughts against their values that they try to suppress. Fearing their will to harm others, doubting their partners, or monitoring themselves for sinful thoughts all fall into this category. These people try to avoid the thoughts through compulsive acts of seeking assurance and praying to let go, which ultimately does not help as the thoughts come back.
This mental health disorder often interferes with normal functioning and causes distress.
Paranoia is a mental health condition where you feel threatened and think people are plotting or acting against you without real evidence. It is a severe condition when you believe people around you cheat, lie, and hate you. For instance, in a normal conversation, you might assume that people are using double-meaning sentences to target you even when they are not.
Paranoid people easily get offended, cannot take criticism, and act aggressively as they always think everyone is out to get them. This makes one constantly suspicious and unable to trust anyone. Paranoia can often be caused by lack of sleep, drug use, and too much stress. Anxiety can also cause paranoia. Psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's can also make one paranoid.
The term paranoid personality disorder refers to people having difficulty trusting and confiding in people, thinking they will take advantage of them, and perceiving even casual remarks from others as threats.
Alzheimer's is a brain disorder affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. It is caused by the shrinking of the brain due to the addition of beta-amyloid and protein tau tangles in the brain, killing the brain cells. This further leads to a decline in cognitive function.
Alzheimer's is one of the most common types of dementia: the inability to think, remember, and make decisions. It hampers one's daily activities. It starts with one forgetting events and conversations. With time, they experience mood swings and behavior changes. In the long run, they cannot communicate, perform tasks, and are not fit to take care of themselves.
Parkinson's disease is a mental health condition that negatively impacts the brain by affecting the nervous system and other nerve-controlled body parts.
It occurs when nerve cells in the basal ganglia, a part that controls movement, are impaired. These nerve cells are known to produce the brain chemical dopamine, which is produced less when the cells get impaired.
Hence, the movement problem arises.
People with Parkinson's also lose the nerve endings producing norepinephrine, the primary chemical messenger of the nervous system. This controls various functions of the body, like heart rate and blood pressure.
Losing this leads to several medical issues like increased blood pressure and sudden drop in it every time the person stands up from a lying or a sitting position.
The initial symptom shows essential tremors and shakiness of hands. This condition worsens over time. In the long run, it leads to disability in walking and talking as well. People with this disease also struggle with sleep, memory, balance, and coordination.
Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder
Dissociative identity disorder (Multiple personality disorder/Split personality disorder) is a mental health condition that involves a disconnection and discontinuity between emotions, thoughts, actions, and identities. People with this disorder try to escape reality, which hampers their normal lives.
DID is often caused by traumatic experiences in the past and wanting to get rid of those memories. It sometimes leads to amnesia and creating alternate identities. People with DID see detaching themselves as a way out of those traumatic memories. Disassociation is more of a coping mechanism where the person tries to shut themselves off during an experience that is too traumatic for them.
People with DID create different personalities with different traits, likes, and dislikes. They have a unique way of talking. It's like an entirely new person. And all these identities control their behavior and actions. When each identity reveals itself and controls the person, it's called switching.
Disassociative Identity Disorder has three types-
Amnesia: This disorder makes one have memory loss about specific events or themselves. This symptom of forgetfulness is severe. People with amnesia cannot recall certain things and sometimes completely forget about themselves.
Identity disorder: This disorder makes a person create different identities in their heads and act according to those personalities. The person might feel the presence of two or more people living inside their head. They do what those personalities ask them, thus hampering their normal lives. Each identity will be different and have its traits, voices, and sometimes other needs, like wearing hair differently.
Depersonalization and derealization: It involves a sense of detachment from oneself or being outside. A person with this type observes themselves, feels, and does things from a distance, like watching a movie. They see other people as dreamlike and vague, like they do not exist.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by an inability to fall asleep, staying hard to fall asleep, or waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep. It causes a person to have a poor sleep pattern affecting their lives.
This disorder is mostly caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or too much caffeine consumption, among other things. An adult should have a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. An insomniac person goes without sleep for days and weeks. Acute or short-term insomnia lasts for days or weeks, whereas chronic or long-term insomnia can last a month or more. One should consult a doctor when it starts interfering with their daily life.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
BPD is a mental health condition affecting people's thinking and feelings about themselves and others. It disables a person's capacity to regulate their emotions. This often leads to developing self-image problems, unstable relationships, and fear of abandonment. This problem takes one to such an extent that they end up pushing people away due to impulsiveness and frequent mood swings.
People with this disorder have inappropriate anger issues and severe mood swings, and their interests can change quickly. They view things as either good or bad, nothing in between. Similarly, their interest can shift from extreme friendliness to extreme dislike. As a result, they often behave recklessly, affecting their lives.
One moment, they might idealize someone; the next, they don't care about the person. These kinds of changes eventually push others away from them. This condition usually appears in early adulthood and often gets better over time.
Symptoms and warning signs of mental health issues
Mental health disorders are mental health conditions that affect our ability to think, feel and function properly. They interfere with our normal lives and control our emotions in unreasonable ways. Everyone goes through some mental health condition from time to time. However, that condition becomes a mental health disorder when the symptoms occur frequently and prevent us from leading our normal lives.
The basic symptoms of a mental health disorder are:
- Feeling of sadness
- Lack of concentration
- Constant worry and fear
- Mood swings
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Unhealthy sleep patterns
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
- Changes in sex drive
- Detachment from reality
- Trouble understanding/ relating to others
- Withdrawal from close ones
There are physical symptoms, which might come in the form of stomach aches, backaches,headaches, and other things. These symptoms can sometimes last for days and disappear. The real problem arises when the symptoms are recurring and going on for months. That's when you should consult a professional.
Most importantly, whenever you have suicidal thoughts, you should not wait for a second and seek help immediately.
The Role of Employers
As residents of this planet, employees dedicate a considerable fraction of their mortal existence to the rigors and toils of the workplace. Thus implying that the realm of our mental wellness is interwoven with the ambiance of our work environment.
Yet, ensuring our mental wellness is not to be solely borne by the employees. The onus is on employers to undertake a crucial role in constructing a healthy work environment. This should uphold and nurture positive mental health outcomes while reducing stress.
In reality, a salubrious mental workplace is not a luxury but a necessity. It is high time for employers to embrace their responsibility toward their employees' mental wellness.
Employers who give importance to the mental health of their workforce can reap many benefits. For example, more employee output decreased absenteeism and cheaper medical expenses. This is indeed a notion worth pondering and ruminating over.
This can inspire a favorable work culture that appeals to retain top talent and culminates in a more competitive business venture.
"Improving the health and well-being of our employees makes good business sense. As a leading provider of workplace health services, we see every day the difference it can make to a company's bottom line and its impact on employee morale and motivation. It offers a "win-win" all around.Employees benefit from better support for their health. Companies benefit from less absence and improved productivity. And society benefits from improved public health." - Steve Flanagan.
Promoting a culture of mental wellness
Have you heard about the staggering increase in mental health issues? The WHO states that over 264 million people globally suffer from depression. That's shocking!
The harmful effects of these predicaments can exert a negative influence on individuals. It can result in lower productivity, absenteeism, and even job termination. Employers have a critical role to play in promoting mental wellness at work.
In today's fast-paced society, promoting mental wellness has become a pressing issue that cannot be ignored. There is an increasing number of individuals experiencing mental health challenges. So, employers must create a culture that values and prioritizes mental wellness.
Let's take a closer look at the role of employers in promoting a culture of mental health.
Employers Can Reduce Stigma
Employers can implement policies that support mental wellness to promote a culture of mental health. They can offer access to mental health resources. And also create an environment encouraging employees to focus on their mental health.
According to the APA, lost productivity from mental health difficulties costs the US economy. Can you say how much? It's a staggering $200 billion per year.
Inculcating mental well-being at the workplace reduces the pervasive social stigma attached to mental health challenges. It creates a more inclusive and supportive environment that encourages individuals to pursue treatment with greater confidence and fortitude.
The Legal and Moral Obligation of Employers
According to the ADA, employers must support employees' mental health legally and ethically. This mandates reasonable accommodations for workers with mental health concerns. Inaction may result in legal repercussions, including lawsuits and fines.
A Shared Responsibility
Fostering mental well-being is an obligation that falls not only on individual employees but also on the broader societal fabric as a collective entity. The former bears the onus of prioritizing their psychological health. Also, simultaneously having the openness to request aid when faced with distressing circumstances. Society must reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by promoting awareness and understanding.
An optimistic workplace culture
Employers may create a positive workplace culture by encouraging cooperation and social support. This may promote employees' sense of worth and connection by fostering a friendly and inclusive work environment.
It comprises of -
- Rewards and recognition
- Appreciation and incentives
- Teamwork activities
- Mentorship initiatives
- Staff resource groups
- Open Communication
Employers can encourage open communication on mental health issues at work. This may be accomplished by teaching managers how to talk to their employees about mental health.
Companies can also set up anonymous feedback methods like suggestion boxes or questionnaires. This will let staff members express their opinions. And also get benefits from mental health-related corporate policies.
Suggested Read: Protect Your Workplace with a Strong Health and Safety Policy
Setting the Bar High
Employers should set an example by prioritizing their mental health too.
This might involve setting an example of -
- Healthy work-life balance
- Taking time off when necessary
- Encouraging self-care behaviors
Employers may develop a workplace culture that appreciates and promotes mental wellness. This should be done for all workers by publicly displaying their commitment to mental health.
"Especially when you're at a high level in an organization, criticism can devastate an employee. I prefer to praise employees for what they're doing right, and it tends to lead to them doing more of the same. Not always, but it's how I choose to bet." – Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.
Facts and Stats:
Key facts according to WHO
A healthy work environment promotes mental wellness.
Bad working conditions, such as discrimination, inequality, excessive workloads, lack of workplace management, and job instability, can harm one's mental health.
According to estimates for 2019, 15% of working-age persons have a mental illness.
An estimated 12 billion working days are lost worldwide yearly due to depression and anxiety, costing US$ 1 trillion in lost productivity annually.
Providing mental health resources and support
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental issues at some point. This has increased awareness of the need for mental health resources and support. This is not just for individuals but also organizations and employers.
By providing resources and support, employers can increase awareness about mental health. Employers can also ensure that employees have access to mental health services and are integrated into the organization's health and wellness program.
So, what can employers do to support the mental health of their employees? Here are a few key strategies:
Create a Mental Health Policy
A mental health policy can outline the organization's commitment to supporting mental health. They can provide guidelines for addressing mental health concerns in the workplace. The policy should also outline available resources, such as - employee assistance programs (EAPs).
Offer Mental Health Benefits
Employers can offer mental health benefits. For example, access to therapy, counseling, or medication through their health insurance plans. Besides these traditional benefits, employers may offer alternative therapies to support employees' mental health, such as-
Provide Training for Managers and Superiors
Managers and superiors play a critical role in supporting employee mental health. Employers can provide training to help managers recognize signs of mental health issues and know how to address them. This training can also help managers to create a supportive work environment. This would promote employee mental health and well-being.
Promote Work-Life Balance
Employers can create a more supportive work environment. They can support employee mental health by promoting work-life balance. This can include offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and paid time off for mental health. They can do so by recognizing the importance of employees' personal lives and mental health.
Here are a Few Examples -
Many employers have already taken steps to provide mental health resources and support to their employees. For example,
- Google offers a "Mental Health Benefits" program. Their employees are benefited from access to mental health services. This includes counseling and support groups.
- EY (Ernst & Young) offers a "We Care" program. They provide confidential counseling and coaching to employees and their families.
- Unilever has a "Wellbeing@Work" program. This promotes mental health and well-being in the workplace.
"A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better." – Jim Rohn
Accommodating employees with mental health issues
An attentive, sympathetic workplace culture is necessary to make workers feel secure. They should be comfortable asking for accommodations for mental illness. Here's how to encourage improved mental wellness within your company.
Creating a safe and supportive work environment
This is the first step in accommodating workers with mental health concerns. Companies must try to foster a culture that prioritizes employee well-being. And also provide resources for mental health care. This entails encouraging-
- Open communication
- Making mental health resources available
- Giving flexible work schedules.
- Cultivating empathy
The cultivation of empathy is a pivotal element in facilitating accommodation. This will help the employees grappling with mental health challenges. It grants us the ability to forge profound connections with others.
Thereby nurturing a work environment that is conducive to well-being. Employers can sow the seeds of empathy for those grappling with mental health difficulties.
This can be done by -
- Stimulating transparent dialogue
- Practicing attentive listening
- Exhibiting compassion
Managers and superiors must undergo extensive mental health training to achieve the goal. This will help in comprehension. It will also enhance sensitivity to those who confront mental health predicaments. Employers may develop a work environment that values and supports all employees. It should be regardless of their mental health state.
Building trust between HR and employee
Building trust between HR and the workforce is essential if you want to support employees, especially those dealing with mental health concerns. It can be effective if employees feel comfortable notifying HR about their mental health issues. This way, the accommodation process can go more swiftly.
HR can make its staff feel more trusted by upholding confidentiality. They can also offer assistance for mental health issues. For this, HR must be educated about mental health accommodations. They should convince their staff members to request accommodations straightforwardly.
HR may create a more accepting and supportive climate for those with mental health issues. They can do so by building trust with employees.
Responsibility to Inquire
The employer is responsible for investigating and asking about the potential accommodation needs of an employee. Their responsibility prevails even if the employee has not formally notified them or made a specific request.
This duty to inquire arises when the employer has information or circumstances that reasonably suggest the employee may need accommodation due to a disability or other reasons.
This duty to inquire arises when the employer has hints that suggest the employee may need accommodation. It may be due to a disability or other reasons.
Instances, where this duty would apply, include when:
- The employer has been notified of the need for accommodation. But lacks information about the disability's general nature and related needs. This may include medical details.
- The employee's behavior is so unusual. Here, the employer should investigate the possibility of a circumstance requiring accommodation.
- The employer is taking action that could harm the employee. And the employee's conduct or job performance suggests the need for accommodation.
- An employee wishes to return to work after being absent due to a disability.
- The employee's job performance is so out of character. Here, the employer should look into the possibility of a circumstance requiring accommodation.
Reducing workplace stressors and risk factors
Workplace stressors and risk factors are anxiety-inducing conditions in a work environment. This has the potential to harm an employee's psychological and physiological well-being.
These multifaceted factors may encompass the following:
- Extended working hours
- Daunting job demands
- Lack of guidance from colleagues and superiors
- Inadequate communication
- Limited job control or independence
- Wavering job security
- Exposure to unsafe working conditions or hazardous materials
- Insufficient resources or training.
- Corporate culture
- Poor management techniques
- Job requirements and content
- The physical environment
- Workplace relationships
- Change management
- Lack of support
- Traumatic role conflict
The above factors can lead to significant stress, anxiety, and physical health problems. While employees are also responsible for managing their stress levels, employers must take the lead in creating a supportive and healthy workplace culture that minimizes these risk factors.
Several methods may be used to manage stress and lessen its effects on an individual or workplace. The methods used to lessen or avoid workplace stress differ substantially from the factors that produce it.
Listed below are some of the strategies to consider -
Good Job Design
- Enable employees to put their abilities to use and pick up new ones.
- Provide regular pauses and exercise pace control.
- Provide possibilities for social interaction.
- State foreseeable shifts.
- Protection against prolonged physical stressor exposure.
- To eliminate employee ambiguity about their positions.
- Establish the duties and responsibilities of each employee.
- Instead of being sarcastic or petty, make communication effective and cordial.
Consulting your Staff
- Provide employees the chance to engage in choices that impact their careers.
- Set up work schedules that align with demands and obligations from outside the workplace.
- Health services and remedies
Providing incentives and rewards
- Positive work performance should be acknowledged orally and formally.
- Provide chances for professional advancement.
- Encourage an "entrepreneurial" workplace culture that allows staff members more autonomy.
Creating a Positive Social Atmosphere
- Provide chances for workplace socialization.
- Decide to tolerate harassment and discrimination in no way.
- Have company ideals in mind when you conduct management.
- Rehabilitation programs for returning to work.
- Training in relaxation techniques, including tai chi, muscular relaxation, and meditation.
- Training in conflict resolution, assertiveness, etc.
- Creating a physical area for relaxation practices such as meditation.
- Giving employees access to a jogging path and a gym during working hours.
- Offering recurring massages at the office.
"We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy, and committed workforce is vital to our business success." - Alex Gourlay, MD, Boots UK
Employee Mental Health self-care
Strategies for managing stress and improving mental wellness
Workplace stress is inevitable, and stress is one of the most daunting obstacles to employee engagement in the modern workplace. According to a study by the American Institute of Stress, stress alone costs US businesses around $300 billion a year. The workplace is now officially identified as the major source of stress.
Stress is now identified and declared an epidemic by the world health organization. Many factors contribute to stress at work, be it an overload of work, poor work-life balance, lack of job security, overwhelming employees, or lack of job satisfaction. All these factors can pile up your stress level, and it can be quite challenging to manage.
Again, even though it is one of the most common workplace problems, it is often overlooked and not considered a real health issue. To ensure your employees are mentally and physically healthy, you should put a lot of work into your employee wellness program.
It means that it'd include strategies and plans for all the dimensions of employee health. It would help if you came up with a more holistic approach to tackling mental health issues, especially stress, and how to manage it effectively. Mental health is in a crisis in America, and almost two third of adults in America are reported to have worse mental health post-pandemic, according to a survey by the APA stress poll in 2022.
Since mental health conditions like stress or depression cost high to not just the employee but the organizations as well so failing to provide a supportive work environment can come at an even higher price; proving a positive and supportive practice at the workplace can boost employee morale and engagement, according to a recent study by the APA 2021 work and well-being survey.
Providing mental health resources and creating a positive work environment can help your company retain talent. Although knowing which strategies will work best for your employees can be quite challenging, here are the five best psychological strategies that apply to the workplace.
Educate your managers about mental health and well-being.
If you want to work on a mental health plan for your employees, the first step is to educate your workforce, including management, and train about the same. Your organization's leaders must lead by example to create a healthy work culture.
The impact of managers being engaged in a training session on mental health plans and how to recognize the signs of stress and help them deal with the issues can greatly affect turnover and absenteeism of your employees positively. A welcoming and healthy work environment can help build trust among leaders and employees and reduce work-related stress.
Consider training your managers in skills and behavioral techniques that support mental health and positive relationships in the workplace. Again, try to educate your workforce and your managers from all the verticals about the importance of mental health and breaking the stigma of sticking to it.
Try to encourage more relaxation techniques at work.
Stress at work is inevitable, and coping with it can get challenging with the amount of work pressure. But provide or introduce various relaxation techniques as a part of your wellness program, like deep breathing, meditation, office yoga, or even listening to binaural beats while working. It can help your employees calm their minds and reduce stress.
You can start small by introducing the benefits of mindfulness and meditation by encouraging them to use wellness apps like Vantage Fit or in-house yoga sessions at work. Focusing purposefully on a single activity without distraction will help your employees get stronger with practice, and they will even find that it can benefit their personal and professional lives.
Your wellness policy should reflect diversity and inclusion.
When creating a wellness program for your employees, you should ensure it is more holistic. It should provide inclusivity and diversified plans and strategies when dealing with the mental health issues of your employees. In most workplaces, stress results from interpersonal issues rather than what they do. Hence, ignoring these little things can cause chronic stress for your employees and make it impossible for them to accomplish their tasks.
Thus, providing an inclusivity and diversified wellness plan at work is integral in fostering the mental health of your employees. Inequity and discrimination are among the most common stressors at work as loss of retention.
Ensuring your management is well-trained and develops more inclusive policies can help people from all backgrounds feel safe and comfortable at work. These policies should reflect that all are equal and have the right to all incentives and job promotions irrespective of their background or community.
Provide your employees with tools to identify their stress sources.
Stress management or helping your employees cope with stress begins with identifying the source of their stressors. Finding a solution is easier when you know what's causing you stress or anxiety at work rather than being oblivious to them. Your work environment, the lack of proper boundaries with your colleagues, or even a poor work-life balance can all contribute to this.
Workplace stressors don't necessarily have to be about your work or overload of work pressure. It can arise from different sources, or even the slightest thing you might not consider a stressor to you might be a lot to your employees.
Your stress management programs can provide them with tools and techniques to identify all the sources of discomfort they are experiencing at work and to help them deal with them. You can then help them list all the things that are stressing them out, such as meeting deadlines, difficult colleagues, or having too much work.
Please provide them with the necessary tools and support at work to deal with stress more effectively by prioritizing one stressor at a time.
Create a holistic work policy based on employee feedback.
Stress or the mental health of your employees, in general, should be addressed holistically rather than by coming up with outdated policies that do not meet all the generations of your workforce.
When managing stress or any other mental health condition, one-size-fits-all doesn't work. Gen-Z employees may be stressed over what may not seem like a problem to millennials.
According to a recent APA study, about 48% of employees reported feeling left out of work-related policies or decisions that contribute to their stress at work. It has been proven that employees feel more heard and acknowledged when their input is considered in decision-making or wellness policies.
Taking your employees' feedback into account when making decisions has multiple psychological benefits. As a result, they are more productive and satisfied at work. As part of your stress management programs, you can use tools and techniques to learn how they feel about the workplace culture and what can be improved.
You can use anonymous feedback surveys, town hall suggestion boxes, or even focus groups or provide in-house counselors to listen to your employees' problems and utilize these materials to create more specific diverse opportunities to listen o your employee's feedback.
Steps to improve mental health in the workplace
Here are a few steps managers should take when responding to their employees talking about mental health in the workplace -
Listen to what your staff or employees say about what's bothering them. Be patient and understanding when approaching their concerns.
Ensure your management is free to come and seek support if needed. Make room for support and help whenever your employees are in crisis.
Demonstrate and encourage the importance of having interpersonal skills in the workplace. Encourage sharing warmth, empathy, care, and understanding of your colleague's mental health.
As a part of your stress management, you should create more room for your employees to feel comfortable enough to check in regularly with their managers. Ask your employees if they are comfortable sharing what's bothering them, and effectively take action based on their feedback.
Create a workplace encouraging and praising those who share their struggles, mental health issues, and feelings. Make them feel heard and seen for their courage to talk about their problems and simultaneously help break the stigma around it.
Tools and Resources for Mental Wellness
Often a matter of social stigma, mental wellness issues are mostly left unresolved due to a lack of support and assistance by managers, seniors and, HRs. This gap has led to a pile-up of unresolved emotions among employees. Leading to mental health concerns in the workplace.
Mental wellness is something we all want to opt for. When we talk and share about issues affecting our mental health, we are tenfold more likely to achieve positive results. Sharing at first glance may seem hard, but we now have resources to help us out in this need.
Employers are now aware of the need to support the mental wellness of their employees. And look to onboard tools and resources that support mental wellness in the workplace.
Digital Technology has offered us a new dimension of wellness. Amongst several technologies for wellness, we have dedicated tools and resources that support mental wellness.
These supporting tools and resources include corporate wellness programs, employee wellness apps, support groups, counseling services, insurance benefits, and talk therapy tools. These support resources or employee assistance programs are crucial to overall wellness and aid the workplaces' mental wellness process.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Health is a state of mind, and wellness is a state of being.
Employees in the workplace require solid support and assistance to maintain their mental well-being. As is the case, mental wellness at the workplace is vital for both employers and employees.
However, the lack of support programs often prevents employees from resolving issues about their mental wellness. The online world now has assistance, support programs, and resources that facilitate employee mental wellness.
Employers may offer employee assistance programs at the workplace. EAP, or employee assistance programs, are benefit programs that help employees deal with personal or work-related concerns which impact their job and general well-being.
EAPs are work-based intervention programs and services that are generally free or low-cost, and they are confidential. An employee assistance program provides employees with a supportive space where they can express issues they are experiencing. As a result, experts provide the right set of solutions. This improves employees engagement levels, as well as their overall psychology.
Employee assistance programs are valuable resources for organizations looking to foster a culture of support and well-being. These work-based designed programs offer a range of services such as counseling, coaching, financial and legal support. They also offer help of specialized professionals, and subscription to digital apps. These programs help employees navigate through situations challenging their mental-wellbeing.
EAPs bring numerous benefits to the workplace-
- Reduced absenteeism
- Improved productivity
- Positive workplace culture
- Increased morale among employees
- Improved coping skills
- Decreased stigma around mental health
EAPs are one empowering way for employers to demonstrate commitment to employee well-being. With a focus on openness, supportive culture, and empathy, employers can constitute a workplace culture that is safe and sound for employees to live their best lives.
Implementing Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work for mental wellness
The rise of mental health awareness is real. Employees are aware, and employers recognize this occurrence. Creating a workplace that promotes mental wellness is more relevant than ever. As much for the people, implementing EAPs is equally important for workplaces.
A report from the WHO (World Health Organisation) cites-
- Poor working environments pose a risk to mental health.
- A mental condition was projected to affect 15% of working-age adults.
- Depression and anxiety are projected to cost the world 12 billion working days yearly.
- Lost productivity costs $1 trillion each year.
The report from WHO emphasizes protecting mental health and Creating an enabling environment for change.
EAPs, without a doubt, go a long way in fostering a healthy workforce and a productive workforce. With a rise in general awareness, the question isn't "What EAPs are?" or "Why to implement EAPs?" rather, "How to implement EAPs."
Here are some narrowed-down steps for implementing the program as an employer -
Identify the exact need to why implement an EAP at your workplace. Communicate with the staff and collect information from HR surveys. These communications and information will help identify the need.
Make a Plan
Once the need is identified, create an implementation plan. Include types of services and resources required, and make a budget and a realistic timeline.
Select the Vendor
Inspect, view, and research what is required as per your needs. Shortlist/ Select the vendors with high-quality service and portfolios. The vendor willing to provide tailored services is a bonus to look out for.
Inform the staff
Develop communication material to inform the staff about EAPs and their services through preferred channels. Some proffered channels in a professional setup could be Mails, Updates on the HRMS platform, and posters on social media accounts. Make the information clear regarding every bit and piece of the program.
Launch the program and help the workforce
Make the program launch visible and accessible. Train the staff to recognize problems and to come forward and take help. Encourage the employees to take advantage of the services.
Collect data on the outcomes and employee satisfaction. Use this information to improve the effectiveness.
The next sections cover a detailed exploration of EAPs and types of EAPs such as Insurance benefits, Counselling services and support groups, and Digital tools. Let's take a look.
Mental Health Benefits and Insurance Coverage
The crucial component of mental health encompasses psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects our behavioral patterns- how we think, feel and act. Taking care of mental health goes a long way toward living happy and fulfilling.
Mental health was often looked at as a personality trait. There was a sense of unwillingness to talk regarding mental health. Society is still bugged to look down on mental health to some extent. This is greatly due to a lack of education and awareness regarding mental wellness.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the faults in mental health services and showcased the need for mental health support from employers. The Insurance providers acknowledge this change and have come forward with health policies equally covering mental wellness.
Insurance providers offer a wide range of mental health plans. It's important to understand the areas the plan and the provider covers and the out-of-pocket costs. Understanding how mental health benefits and insurance coverage work in your workplace.
Mental health benefits are available to both employers and employees. If the company offers group insurance, all the employees are eligible for coverage. Your company may not offer group insurance but only individual or solo insurance coverage for mental health care, with services provided only by psychiatrists or psychologists within the network.
Workplace wellness begins with mental health. Workplace mental health benefits can include- Mental health services for employees with mental disorders and employees receiving reimbursement for out-of-pocket mental health expenditures, such as therapy or medication costs.
Insurance coverage can include- insurance companies covering mental health services provided in a medical setting.
Here are some of the mental health benefits that insurance providers may cover:
Medication: Medications may help relieve symptoms of mental health conditions. Licensure providers may cover mental health medication.
Therapy: Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction are addressed by a licensed mental health professional. Insurance providers may cover therapy sessions with psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed clinical social workers.
Telehealth: Telemedicine or Telehealth offers remote healthcare and treatment via telecommunication technology. It rose to prominence, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance coverage may offer telecommunication services, facilitating individuals to receive mental health care remotely.
Outpatient Services: Mental health treatments are often delivered outside of a hospital setup. Insurance coverage may cover outpatient services such as therapy and counseling sessions.
Inpatient Services: Patients with severe mental health issues receive extensive hospital treatment and care. Insurance providers may cover inpatient mental health care.
Support and Counseling Networks: EAPs, generally free or low-cost, are offered by insurance companies and can include counseling services, support groups, and referrals to mental health experts.
Seeking help is the first step toward mental wellness. Having access to support is important to maintain good mental health. Insurance policies are of great support for mental wellness and are support groups and counseling services.
Let's look at support groups and Counseling services and how they are great resources for workplace wellness.
Support Groups and Counseling Services
If you are struggling with major stress and mental health issue, you are not needed to go about it alone!
Mental wellness, in general or in the workplace, is essential to overall well-being, healthy living, and healthy work culture. Support groups and counseling services are beneficial tools for people to manage their mental health issues and enhance their quality of life. Establishing a workplace culture fostering mental health care is necessary for mental wellness.
Counseling services are one-on-one talk therapy or support sessions with a trained professional. Individuals can discuss their challenges, and counselors can help navigate difficult situations with structured strategies and can develop a plan to manage mental health.
Workplace counseling services are a valuable resource that helps employees deal with anxiety, stress, and every other mental health concern. Along with health and well-being, counseling services help employees develop better-coping mechanisms.
Counseling services are confidential. They come in in-person sessions, cognitive therapy, and online resources. Employers can cooperate with mental health specialists to build tailored- courses that fit the individual requirements of their employees.
Offering counseling services at the workplace adds to the humane element of life by nurturing healthier and happier individuals. With the strength of a mentally healthier workforce, employers can benefit from reduced absenteeism and improved productivity.
Such services support mental health and create a culture of openness. The latter harbors a more positive and safe work environment by providing employees with a confidential space to discuss their issues.
Benefits of Counselling services -
- Improved mental health conditions by dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other issues.
- Relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Counseling services improve overall productivity at the workplace.
- Helps lead a happier lifestyle.
- Satisfaction of 'letting it out' and sharing with someone.
- A sense of empowerment and hope.
- Understanding of disease and improving mental health with own experience.
- Structures and organizes your thought process.
- Helps resolve past traumas and subsequently improve the present way of living.
- Improves communication skills and helps build better relationships with colleagues.
- Addressing mental health issues at work and resolving them with counselors reduces absenteeism.
- Increased morale and confidence.
Support groups are groups of people who are or have gone through similar conditions and come together to share their experiences. People dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns may find support groups particularly helpful.
The purpose of a support group is to provide members with a space to talk about their personal experiences, feelings, and coping strategies. A support group can often fill the gap between medical care and emotional support.
Medical guidance alone may not provide enough emotional support during a challenging mental health journey. Neither friends nor family members fully understand the complexities of our mental and emotional states.
Support groups can serve as a haven where people can meet, connect and share similar experiences while fulfilling medical and emotional needs. Support groups can offer a sense of belonging and understanding which can add significant value to lives.
These groups harbor a safe and supportive environment where people can talk, share and learn. They encourage people with the opportunity to build a community of like-minded people and offer each other support.
Benefits of support groups -
- Relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
- Having fewer feelings of being judged.
- Overcoming loneliness and isolation promotes a sense of belonging.
- Sense of 'Talking it out' and sharing honest feelings.
- Developing better-coping skills.
- A sense of empowerment and hope.
- Understanding of disease and improving mental health with own experience.
- A sense of community among people or employees struggling with similar issues.
- Peer support in the form of emotional support and practical advice.
- Sharing experiences normalize mental health issues and reduces stigma.
- Employees gain a deeper understanding of their mental health, which can lead to personal growth and a more fulfilling life.
- Added motivation to live.
Employees feel supported in the mental wellness journies with support groups and counseling services. Employees also feel respected, valued, and cared for by their employers if they can access these services.
Support groups are not that hard to find. They are easily available and can be found online. Here are some links to finding the right one -
- Online Support Groups
- Mental Health Support
- Find Support Groups
- Depression Support Groups
- Online Depression Support Groups
Online Resources And Self-Help Tools
The modern workplace can be a stressful environment. Employees often face heavy workloads and constant pressure to perform. Not only work-related pressure, but people might face mental health-related issues from personal lives too. This can result in anxiety, depression, and burnout, among other mental health issues.
At the same time, there are several online resources and self-help tools that can help employees improve their mental health. These resources can provide information, support, and guidance. Prominent amongst these are online resources such as digital mental health tools.
Digital mental health tools are phone apps and well-being platforms that bridge the gap for employee mental health needs using well-being technologies. These D2C well-being tools, with ease of accessibility, can be combined with existing therapeutic relationships or used independently.
Online resources and evidence-based self-help tools, health risk assessed, and data analyzed provide valuable mental health education and coping techniques. They also help control and regulate emotions. Studies have shown that Digital tools and resources effectively treat common mental wellness-related issues.
However, not all tools are created equal. Further studies cite tools with personalized support and guidance as the most effective. Therefore, it is important to research to ensure it meets mental health needs.
When considering pricing, employers should prioritize mental health by choosing research-backed and culturally sensitive tools for their employees. This can help to create a healthier workforce.
Employees who are struggling with their mental health are not alone. To help, a variety of resources are available. Employers seeking to enhance their mental health offerings-including therapy, are increasingly looking for these online resources and tools. Here are some digital tools and resources to help your employee's mental wellness journey.
Vantage Fit is a people-first employee wellness app by Vantage Circle. The idea is to bring well-being as whole to the corporates and the communities. Vantage Fit emphasizes holistic well-being and seeks to foster a physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy workforce. It has a built-in framework for wellness challenges.
Designed for enterprises, Vantage Fit caters to evidence-based tools to promote healthier lifestyles and habits. With concise yet impactful activity tracking features such as a mood tracker, a stress management toolkit with guided mindfulness sessions and breathing exercises, Heart Rate Monitor, Seven Minute Workouts, and Meal Diaries, Vantage Fit aims to raise awareness towards mental health & overall wellness.
Leveraging the assistive calorie and nutrition tracker, one can track their nutrition intake and gain insights into weight management. This feature can be particularly useful for individuals who struggle with stress eating.
The Guided Mindfulness sessions help individuals to have a moment of meditative state. The reminders from the mood tracker help track the emotional state and identify patterns.
The platform hosts a library of in-house resources. There are expert health contents consisting of podcasts and blogs. The app also provides real-time challenges for users to participate. And employees receive reward points for the completion of such challenges. The app's personalizations, push notifications, UI, and leaderboards encourage user engagement and attention.
With a growing fitness and wellness community, one can share their experiences, learn, and support each in every step.
7 cups of tea
7 Cups is an ideal mental health platform to talk to counselors. The application includes anonymous texting from users to trained system volunteers. These volunteers are known as "active listeners," users can select them based on their bio. Users can base their choice on the volunteer's expertise, experiences, and lifestyle.
7 Cups also offers virtual group chat rooms to allow users to connect with others experiencing similar challenges and improve their mental health through communication. They have self-care tools and educational resources to help and educate users to manage their mental health.
Centered around meditation, Headspace aims to increase happiness and focus through better mental health. The wellness app has guided meditation plans, sound sleep therapies, and coaching. The meditation and mindfulness app is designed to help users relax and reduce stress. Headspace proposes a night of comfortable sleep.
Headspace provides users with themed meditation options covering anxiety, stress, sleep, and mindfulness. Headspace and Ginger recently merged to form Headspace Health. The new platforms aim to offer the best of both worlds in a digital mental health and well-being platform.
Calm is a frontrunner in this segment of meditation and mindfulness apps. It is built around the saying, "Where the mind is, the body follows." This popular app is based on mental well-being and is specifically designed to help users practice mindfulness and achieve better mental health.
The Calm platform has several guided meditation plans and sleep stories that focus on aiding users to attain good sleep and relieve stress and anxiety. It offers relaxing music, nature sounds, and a timer to help you meditate. The app can be instrumental in tackling anxiety and stress and improving mental health and happiness quotient.
The Virgin Pulse corporate wellness program is a trusted wellness program in the corporate world. The platform offers a variety of features to help employees improve their physical and mental health. Features include - Guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, tools to help manage stress and anxiety, and access to a library of health and wellness resources.
The program takes into account the emotional well-being of users. The platform tailors grief, addiction, sleep, and stress management solutions. Virgin Pulse is available in multiple languages and boasts of big names in the corporate world in its clientele.
Wellable provides customized and holistic wellness solutions for individuals and industries. Their programs offer a variety of options for employees. The program is taken a notch higher by its availability of options.
Employees can opt for virtual or on-site classes that suit their needs and preferences. Wellable offers Mindfulness/Meditation sessions to take care of the mental wellness of employees. The presence of subject matter experts and trainers only adds to its value.
The Kite Program is a mental health and well-being platform founded by a mental health advocate and HR professional, Hannah Hardy-Jones. The platform was initially designed for mothers but has since expanded to include a wider range of users, including corporate world or HR professionals.
The Kite Program is highly customizable, allowing users to select relevant content. The Kite Program is a reliable name in the industry and provides expert advice on mental health and well-being.
Spring Health offers comprehensive mental wellness solutions for employers. Employees may use their platform to get high-quality, tailored mental health treatment that can help them improve their mental health and well-being.
The platform delivers personalized, scalable mental health care to employees. Spring Health's platform includes on-demand treatment, group therapy, wellness coaching, and education and tools to help employees improve their mental health. Spring Health distinguishes itself by providing a wide range of features.
Doctor on Demand
Doctor on Demand offers 24-hour urgent care and therapy sessions through its telehealth platform. A user can access online therapy sessions and psychiatric services. They can also request doctor consultations online.
They cover mental health and routine care in the domain. Doctor on Demand stands out with its inclusion of mental health care options.
Creating a Mental Wellness Action Plan
An organization should prioritize employees' mental wellness. Mental health is one of the most common issues of long-term absence from work. And it needs to be resolved by reasonable efforts and a call for action.
According to a study, one in five US adults experiences mental illness yearly. Only a few get them through the treatment. Others either miss work or be less done on the job. The latter is presenteeism, which triggers productivity and performance issues at work.
This is the reason behind the rising need for holistic wellness in the workplace. Therefore, organizations need to involve themselves and understand the state of an employee's mental wellness.
How can an organization assess employees' current state of wellness?
Assessing an organization's current state of mental wellness can be an important first step in identifying areas where improvements can be made.
By conducting a comprehensive assessment of an organization's current state of mental wellness, managers can gain insight into areas where improvements can be made.
Here are some steps that can help with this assessment:
1. Conduct surveys:
Surveying employees will help to gather their perceptions of the organization's mental wellness. Questions about work-related stressors, the availability of mental health resources, and the organization's overall culture will be helpful.
Through their answers, monitor their actions and behaviors. Understanding the symptoms, early warning signs, and triggers for poor mental health or stress.
2. Analyze absenteeism and turnover rates:
Higher absenteeism and turnover rates indicate poor mental wellness in the workplace. Analyze these rates to determine ways to reduce them.
3. Employee assistance program (EAP) usage:
EAPs can provide real-quick insights into the mental health needs of employees. Also, determine their awareness of or use of available resources and support.
4. Evaluate workplace policies and practices:
Review current workplace policies and practices like; workload, time off, and communication. Analyze and take positive measures to create a healthy work culture.
5.Assess workplace culture:
Evaluate the overall workplace culture to determine if it promotes mental wellness. Or anything that has been a constant factor of stress. Also, agree to a timely review of the recovery actions.
6.Consider external factors:
External factors may impact mental wellness in the workplace, such as economic or industry-related stressors or community-level issues, such as social unrest or natural disasters, and so on.
Developing a mental wellness action plan
What Is WAP?
The pandemic was the worst hit on mental health and related issues. According to Bupa's research, a third of UK adults think that remote work has negatively impacted their mental health, and almost a quarter (23%) says it eroded their self-confidence.
Wellness Action Plan (WRAP) was a recovery model developed by a group of people in northern Vermont in 1997 in a workshop on mental health recovery led by Mary Ellen Copeland.
Well, there is no doubt about the rising significance of holistic wellness in the workplace today. Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is a customized, evidence-based mental wellness plan. A system developed to help managers help employees with their mental well-being.
A wellness action plan is a personalized plan that a manager and employee can develop together. Through WAP, managers help employees support their mental health and rising concerns. It allows managers to take practical steps to help employees address those triggers and take measures to prevent them.
A well-thought-out plan helps make manager-employee relations better. Further, creating a positive and healthy work environment for employees.
In this process, managers open up with employees about their mental wellness, need, and support by opening up dialogues. It is a two-way proactive process. Managers provide practical and mutual solutions/steps for regular monitoring and review.
More importantly, it has to be confidential. Managers who use WAP benefit from a greater understanding of their employees.
Ways to implement and evaluate the plan
A Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is a proactive tool to identify and manage a mindful workplace. Here are some steps to assess and execute a WAP at work:
1. Identify the need:
Conduct surveys to determine your employees' level of interest and need for a WAP. Surveys will help you understand whether a WAP is useful for your organization.
2. Develop a plan:
Work with your HR team, counselors, or mental health professionals to develop a plan for implementing a WAP. Try to include details such as the goals of the plan, the resources needed, and the expected outcomes.
3. Communicate with employees:
Communicate the plan to all employees, and explain how the WAP works, how to use it, and how it will benefit them. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
4. Train employees:
Train employees on how to develop and use their own WAP. This can include self-care, stress management, and mental health awareness sessions.
5. Monitor and evaluate:
Regularly monitor the use of the WAP and evaluate its effectiveness.
6. Continuously enhance:
Use employee feedback and evaluation data to improve the WAP continuously. Make new adjustments to the plan, offer new resources or services, or increase the program awareness timely.
Executing a WAP requires a comprehensive approach that involves planning, communication, training, and ongoing evaluation. By taking these actions, a great culture of employee health and workplace wellness can be created.
Even with so much going on, your mental health must remain a top priority. Whether due to work, the pandemic, or personal difficulties, taking care of yourself is important to preserve workplace wellness. A mentally healthy workplace results in a productive environment with satisfied employees.
Sometimes work can be stressful, and individuals may face various mental health issues. There can be different issues, such as burnout, work anxiety, and depression.
Employers should prioritize their employees' well-being by adopting mental wellness programs.
They must also -
- foster work-life balance
- offer support networks
- build a friendly and pleasant work culture to address these difficulties.
The most important thing you can do for your employees' mental health is to show that you care about them, regardless of what they're going through. You don't have to intrude on their privacy; you can ask about their daily lives.
Ask them about their weekend, upcoming move, and how their child's school performance went.
Learn about them as people: their hopes, anxieties, and interests. When you show your employees that you care about them, you foster a culture of trust and reassure them that they are safe in revealing their weaknesses to you.
The Vantage Fit team encourages and inspires you to act around mental wellness at work. They introduce you to ways to create mental health awareness and other mental health programs. And with this guide, the overall mental health in the workplace and how you can achieve that.
In conclusion, a successful mental wellness program is a circumstance where everyone benefits.
While the suggestions in this article can assist you in managing your mental health at work, there is no quick fix for chronic stress or anxiety. Since different kinds of help or assistance work for different people, you must seek professionals in severe conditions.
If you feel the need for some professional help, you can reach out to these helplines-
- 988 Suicide and Crisis Helpline
- Veteran Crisis Line