Promoting Mental Health in Organizations: A Comprehensive Guide

Organizations have a responsibility to promote mental health and well-being among their employees. This can be done by offering mental health benefits that are on par with physical health benefits, providing easy access to resources for mental and substance use disorders, and focusing on self-care, skill development, and resilience. Employers should also analyze their mission and vision, workplace culture, and benefits as part of their guidance. In addition, employers can provide a mental health resource guide for internal and community support to new employees.

They should also mark the main awareness campaigns on the calendar and celebrate them. Mental Health Month is celebrated in May every year, while National Suicide Prevention Week is celebrated in September. Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day, and National Screening Day are also important dates to remember. Employers can follow mental health organizations like MHA on social media or subscribe to their email list to access free resources that they can distribute to employees during awareness campaigns.Organizations should consider establishing a team, task group, employee resource group, or salaried position to identify and address concerns related to workplace culture and promote awareness of mental health, education, and resources available to employees.

This team should be comprised of members who provide different perspectives in the workplace, including supervisors, junior employees, human resources, and executive leadership. Smaller employers may need to appoint a person to perform this role.It is essential to raise awareness and encourage dialogue about mental health. But talking isn't always enough on its own. Employers should recognize the signs of a mental health crisis and learn about the resources for themselves or others to overcome a crisis.

Training sessions can give co-workers, human resources, and management confidence to hold important conversations. Organizations should also keep lists of easily accessible resources, including local suicide prevention hotlines and mental health crisis centers.Employees can play an important role in mental health education and outreach to their colleagues, in addition to employer efforts. Mental health messages are more meaningful when they come from all levels of a company, including top managers.At a minimum, organizations' health insurance benefits should reflect the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act which requires health insurers to provide coverage for mental health, behavioral and substance use disorders that is comparable to their physical health coverage. According to a report commissioned by the American Heart Association, more than eight out of ten employees say their employers offer at least one mental health offer.The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which a person realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to their community”.

This topic should serve as a reminder to organizations of the importance of continuous listening to ensure that all voices are heard and that barriers to well-being and mental health at work are discovered and eliminated.According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five adults receives a mental health diagnosis each year. Employees receiving treatment for mental health problems report that their levels of effectiveness and job satisfaction have improved. There are also business benefits to supporting the mental health and well-being of your employees.Leaders with even three hours of Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) report improved attitudes about mental health and greater motivation to promote mental health in the workplace. Training should encourage managers to talk appropriately about mental health, avoid discriminating against people with mental health problems, and promote a good work-life balance for their employees.If policies require a doctor's note for an absence, for example, that could create additional challenges for employees who may fear the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Providing mental health support in the workplace can help reduce this statistic within your own organization. As Flasterstein wisely observes: “The smallest thing can actually go the furthest when it comes to promoting mental health”. It might be time for organizations to consider adding mental health days or letting employees know that sick time can be used for more than just sick time.

Steve Darity
Steve Darity

Certified food scholar. General coffee fan. Unapologetic twitter fan. Amateur coffeeaholic. General web nerd.

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