Mental Health

How to Promote Positive Mental Health in the Workplace

How to Promote Positive Mental Health in the Workplace

Positive mental health is essential for an individual’s health and well-being. Being in a healthy frame of mind allows us to better cope with everyday stress and life changes while also giving us the ability to bounce back from setbacks.

As such, maintaining positive mental health in the workplace has become a priority for organizations around the world as it directly impacts employee well-being, engagement, and productivity.

In this article, we will talk about how employers in Canada can help promote positive mental health in the workplace to help reduce absenteeism, lower turnover, and increase employee loyalty.

Why Promoting Mental Health at Work is Important

Promoting mental health in the workplace is crucial for several reasons. It benefits not only the individual employees but also the organization as a whole. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workplace wellness programs play a crucial role in identifying employees at risk for mental health concerns, connecting them to appropriate treatment options, and providing supports that help reduce symptoms and enhance overall wellness. Here’s why prioritizing mental health at work is important:

1. Enhanced Productivity and Performance

Employees with good mental health are more productive and perform better. When individuals feel mentally well, they are more focused, motivated, and capable of performing their tasks efficiently. This can lead to higher quality work, better decision-making, and increased innovation.

2. Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Mental health issues are a significant cause of absenteeism (taking sick leave) and presenteeism (being at work but not fully functioning due to health issues). By promoting mental health, organizations can reduce the frequency and impact of these issues, leading to fewer missed days and more effective work when employees are present.

3. Lower Healthcare Costs

Investing in mental health initiatives can lead to reduced healthcare costs for organizations. Employees with untreated mental health issues often require more medical services, which can drive up insurance premiums and other healthcare-related expenses. Preventive measures and early intervention can mitigate these costs.

4. Improved Employee Retention and Engagement

A workplace that prioritizes mental health is more likely to retain its employees. When workers feel supported and valued, their job satisfaction increases, leading to higher retention rates. Engaged employees are more committed to their work and the organization, which can enhance overall morale and reduce turnover.

5. Positive Workplace Culture

Promoting mental health fosters a positive workplace culture. It encourages open communication, reduces stigma associated with mental health issues, and creates an environment where employees feel safe to seek help. A supportive culture can improve interpersonal relationships and teamwork.

6. Legal and Ethical Responsibilities

Employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment. This includes addressing mental health. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences and damage to the organization’s reputation.

7. Enhanced Corporate Reputation

Organizations that are known for supporting mental health attract top talent and gain a positive reputation in their industry. Prospective employees, clients, and partners are more likely to engage with companies that demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their workforce.

10 Ways to Promote Positive Mental Health in the Workplace

 

Reduce Stigma by Raising Awareness and Providing Mental Health Training

 

The fear of stigma is what deters many employees from discussing mental health problems at work. This is why employers need to do their best to reduce the stigma around mental health by raising awareness of issues like work-related stress, anxiety, and depression.

Focusing on positive mental health strategies, such as mandating mental health training for managers and supervisors, can help create holistic and healthy environments. This can make employees feel more comfortable about sharing issues that may be impacting mental health, productivity, or work-life balance.

Offer Mental Health Benefits and Programs to all Employees

The Covid 19 pandemic in many ways has put a spotlight on the subject of mental health and today most employees are looking for more than just a salary and perks to feel satisfied at a job position.

A study by Limeade and Quantum Workplace found that millennials are 125% more likely to stay with a company because of its well-being programs. As such, offering mental health benefits such as counselling services, therapy, and more as part of employee health insurance is becoming standard practice in many organizations.

Offering mental health benefits as well as stress and resilience workshops and seminars are undoubtedly effective ways to improve morale and loyalty. 

Create a Culture of Openness, Support, and Flexibility

Creating and implementing a mental health policy is often the best way for an organization to show its commitment to promoting positive mental health. 

Having a policy in place that encourages a culture of openness, gives employees the confidence needed to discuss or share mental health problems without fearing job loss, harassment, or ridicule. 

Organizations can even go one step further by introducing peer support programs through mentoring and support groups or giving employees the choice of flexible work schedules, work-from-home days, and even mental health days to show their commitment to positive mental health. 

Promoting Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are crucial employer-sponsored benefits designed to help employees manage personal issues affecting their work performance, health, and well-being. These programs address a variety of concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, substance abuse, and financial difficulties.

Despite their benefits, EAPs are often underutilized due to lack of awareness. To increase usage, regularly inform employees about the EAP through company-wide emails, newsletters, posters, and team meetings. Ensure details are easily accessible on the company intranet and provide clear instructions on how to use the services.

Integrate discussions about the EAP into meetings, share anonymous testimonials, and continuously remind employees about the program. Leadership endorsement is also crucial for encouraging utilization.

By actively promoting your EAP and ensuring employees understand its benefits and how to access it, you can enhance their well-being and productivity, contributing to a healthier workplace.

Encourage and Prioritise Work-Life Balance and Self-Care

Poor mental health in the workplace can be a result of many factors including overworking, unrealistic workloads, poor management and support, long work hours, unclear job roles and responsibilities, poor work-life balance, lack of communication, harassment, and more. 

All of this can have a direct impact on an employee’s performance, productivity, attendance, and morale and it is, therefore, essential for organizations to discourage an overwork culture or set unhealthy expectations for their employees.

Instead, organizations should promote activities such as exercise, rest breaks, and meditation sessions, and even offer complimentary therapy sessions massage treatments to encourage and prioritize work-life balance and self-care. 

Remember, a happy and cared-for employee will always perform a lot better than an unhappy employee and is likely to be more loyal and more involved in helping the organization grow and prosper.  

Utilise Digital Tools and Technology

Organizations should make it a point to suggest to their employees mental health apps and online resources to help deal with work-life balance issues or anxiety or stress levels. 

Advancements in technology and data analytics have also made it possible for organizations to quickly identify potential mental health risk factors that could impact employee performance helping them be more proactive when dealing with issues surrounding mental health.

Making Mental Health Services More Accessible

Mental health issues often require continuous therapy, medication, and regular visits to mental health professionals, which can be challenging to manage during business hours. To fully support mental health in the workplace, it’s important to make mental healthcare more accessible through various initiatives:

  1. Comprehensive Health Plans: Offer health insurance plans that provide extensive coverage for mental health services and psychiatric medications. Ensure these plans cover a range of treatments and support options.

  2. Paid Time Off for Appointments: Allow employees to take paid time off for therapy sessions, medication check-ups, and other mental health-related appointments. This helps remove the stress of balancing work commitments with essential healthcare.

  3. In-House Organizational Psychologist: Hire an organizational psychologist to provide life coaching and mental health support directly within the workplace. This professional can offer immediate assistance and guidance to employees.

  4. On-Site Counseling Services: Partner with local mental health providers to offer free counseling sessions on-site. This makes it easier for employees to access professional help without the need to travel or take significant time away from work.

  5. Support Groups: Facilitate support groups where employees can gather to discuss workplace mental health issues and share their experiences. These groups can provide a sense of community and mutual support, helping employees feel less isolated in their struggles.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that mental healthcare is truly accessible to your employees, fostering a supportive and healthy work environment.

Train Leaders in Fostering Psychological Safety

Leadership plays an important part in developing organizational culture and as such leaders must be trained in compassion, open communication, emotional intelligence, and transparency. 

By showing openness and vulnerability they can help make employees feel less reluctant about sharing personal and work-related problems of their own and foster psychological safety.

Evaluate Mental Health Initiatives

Incorporating mental health policies and training leaders and managers on promoting mental health is one thing but ensuring these policies and processes stand the test of time is quite another.

To ensure that mental health issues are being looked after organizations must regularly survey employees on workplace climate and mental health to determine and evaluate mental health initiatives.

Tracking program participation rates and utilization of mental health services can all provide direct feedback as to how well employees, leaders, and managers like or dislike these programs and what else can be done to promote positive mental health in the workplace further. 

Providing Greater Flexibility

Rigidity in the workplace can significantly increase stress levels among employees, negatively impacting their mental health. Introducing flexibility into your organization can lead to substantial improvements in workplace well-being. Here are some ways to create a more flexible work environment:

  1. Telecommuting and Hybrid Positions: Offer opportunities for remote work or hybrid positions that allow employees to split their time between working from home and the office. This can provide a better work-life balance and reduce commute-related stress.

  2. Flexible Deadlines: Make internal project deadlines more adaptable to accommodate employees’ varying work paces and personal schedules. This can help reduce pressure and increase productivity.

  3. Alternative Workspaces: Permit employees to work away from their desks in communal areas, cafes, or even outside. Changing environments can boost creativity and reduce the monotony of a traditional office setting.

  4. No After-Hours Emails: Prohibit after-hours work emails to ensure employees have uninterrupted personal time. This policy helps prevent burnout and encourages a healthier work-life balance.

  5. Catch-Up Days: Institute regular catch-up days with no meetings, allowing employees to focus on their tasks without interruptions. This can help them manage their workload more effectively.

  6. Customized Work Styles: Ask employees about their preferred working styles and modify positions as much as possible to suit their individual needs. Tailoring roles to fit employees’ strengths and preferences can increase job satisfaction and productivity.

By implementing these flexible work options, you can create a more supportive and stress-free environment, ultimately enhancing the mental health and overall well-being of your team.

Promoting Positive Mental Health with Spectrum Therapeutic Solutions

By partnering with the right mental health therapy company you are giving your employees the best chance to deal with a range of issues like anxiety, depression, addiction, and trauma which can all lead to better performance, increased loyalty, and much improved work-life balance.

To learn more about our therapeutic counselling services and how we can help visit our clinic or call us at (902) 932-2395

FAQs

Q) How can managers support employee mental health?

If an employee is dealing with mental health issues managers should show empathy and direct them to resources that can help on a psychological level. They should also check in with the employees periodically to see how they are getting along and allow for flexible schedules and days off if needed.

Q) What are the signs of poor mental health at work?

Withdrawal, errors, absenteeism, fatigue, irritability, and lack of focus are all signs of poor mental health.

Q) How can workplace culture impact mental health?

Workplace culture can have a direct impact on mental health. If the workplace culture encourages overworking, unhealthy competition, and setting unreasonable expectations, this can adversely impact performance and lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, a workplace culture that encourages work-life balance and anti-discrimination will positively impact mental health.

Q) What mental health policies should Canadian companies have?

Canadian companies should incorporate mental health policies that allow for mental health sick day allowances, seminars, and workshops that encourage mental health training, and anti-discrimination practices to make employees feel psychologically safe.

 
 

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Spectrum Therapeutic Solutions was Founded in 1989 as an occupational health service it grew to include therapeutic counselling in 2005.

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