According to the World Health Organization, mental illness is a leading cause of disability worldwide. A study by the American Psychological Association found that poor mental health in the workplace can lead to an increase in absenteeism, decreased productivity, and higher healthcare costs.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countries worldwide, mental issue has become a significant concern for individuals and organizations alike. A study from 2020 found that 50% of Nepalese respondents experienced at least one psychological symptom during the pandemic. Additionally, data from Nepal Police shows an alarming increase in suicide rates with 16-18 deaths per day in 2020- all of which have an impact on employees’ health and well-being, the workplace environment, and productivity.
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How do Mental Health issues affect business and their employees?
Reduced productivity: It can lead to decreased focus and motivation, resulting in lower productivity among employees.
Increased absenteeism: Employees with mental health issues may take more time off work, leading to increased absenteeism and reduced workforce availability.
Increased healthcare costs: It can lead to increased healthcare costs for both the employee and the employer.
Difficulty in teamwork: It can lead to difficulty in teamwork, communication, and employee relations.
Why do you need a mental health support system in the workplace?
Improved Employee Productivity: A safe mental health support system in the workplace can help employees manage mental issues that may be impacting their work performance and productivity.
Reduced Absenteeism: By addressing mental concerns in the workplace, employees are less likely to take time off work due to mental illness.
Enhanced Workplace Culture: Implementing a mental health support system can promote a positive and supportive work environment, which can improve employee satisfaction and retention.
Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Workforce: Mental health support systems can be tailored to meet the unique needs of different groups of employees, including those from diverse backgrounds.
How can you implement a successful mental health support system in the workplace?
Let’s learn how you can achieve successful mental health in your workplace:
Promote Open Communication
Encourage employees to speak openly and honestly about their mental issues. This can be done through employee surveys, mental well-being workshops, mental health evaluation or an employee assistance program.
According to a study by Deloitte, 69% of employees who have access to mental health support feel comfortable talking about their mental health with their employer.
Train Managers and Supervisors:
Creating a positive and safe work culture starts at the top. It is crucial for organizational leadership to fully support and prioritize the development of a psychologically healthy environment.
Additionally, managers and supervisors play a vital role in ensuring that policies and procedures are effectively implemented and maintained to foster a supportive atmosphere for all employees.
A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health program revealed that through providing leadership training, employees’ personal and job well-being was positively impacted. The program was found to boost job satisfaction and decrease the intention of employees to leave the company.
Learning Infinity offers managers a variety of resources to help them with leadership and development such as leadership courses, development programs, online resources, mentoring, and customized training.
Encouraging self-care for mental health in the workplace is crucial for the overall well-being and productivity of employees. Employers can promote self-care by creating a culture of openness and support where mental health is openly discussed and resources such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or employee mental health advocate are available. Encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day and engage in physical activity during their breaks can also improve mental well-being.
In addition, employers can offer mental health education and resources, such as workshops or webinars, to help employees understand the importance of self-care and how to practice it. Offering flexible work arrangements such as remote work or flexible hours can also help employees better balance their work and personal lives. It is also important for managers and leaders to lead by example and model self-care behaviors and encourage their teams to do the same. Creating an inclusive and diverse environment where everyone can practice self-care in their own way is important.
Provide Access to Professional Help:
Ensure employees have access to professional help if needed. This can include an employee assistance program, counseling services, or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These resources can help employees manage stress and mental health issues and provide them with the support they need to improve their well-being.
Providing access to professional help is important as it shows that the organization values the mental health and well-being of its employees and is committed to providing them with the support they need.
It’s important to note that access to professional help should be confidential, and the employees should feel comfortable and supported in seeking help.
Measure and Monitor Progress:
It is important to measure and monitor the progress of your mental health support system. Collect feedback from employees, conduct regular surveys, and analyze the data to identify areas that need improvement.
A study by the World Health Organization found that companies that measure and monitor the progress of their mental health support systems are more likely to improve employee well-being.
In conclusion, implementing a mental health support system in the workplace is crucial for the well-being of employees and the success of the organization. By following the five steps outlined in this article, employers can create a culture of openness and support for mental health, provide access to resources and services, and promote healthy coping mechanisms for stress and other mental health concerns. By taking proactive measures to support employees’ mental health, employers can not only improve productivity and reduce absenteeism but also create a more positive and inclusive work environment for all employees.
Examples of 2 companies that use mental health support systems:
Pinterest is revolutionizing the way companies approach employee well-being. The company established an internal community in 2020 called “Pinside Out” to support employee wellness and provide a platform for discussing mental health in the workplace.
The Pinspiration group hosts various events and invites experts, health professionals, and external speakers to talk about a wide range of topics, from managing stress during the holidays to exploring intersectional feminism.
Amazon prioritizes the mental and emotional well-being of its employees by providing a range of support services. They offer free, confidential, and round-the-clock counseling sessions for employees and their household members.
Additionally, Amazon also provides access to digital apps that can assist with stress, anxiety, and mindfulness. Furthermore, for employees enrolled in the company’s medical plan, Amazon provides long-term counseling, specialized treatment for substance use, and specialized care for children and teenagers.