by Amy Ouzoonian
At this point we all know someone we love who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, or we ourselves have been diagnosed with a mental illness. So, why is it that we still are approaching the concept of mental health at work in an unrealistic way? Why are we still having a stigma of fear attached to speaking about mental health and having reasonable expectations for employees?
Stigma around mental health in the workplace is like an outdated, bulky fax machine — everyone notices it but pretends it's not there. As leaders, your first step is acknowledging this 'elephant in the office' and setting a tone of openness and acceptance. Mental health issues are real, and they're as critical to address as any physical ailment or corporate challenge.
A Leader’s Toolbox for Mental Health Advocacy
1. Lead with Vulnerability: Leadership is not just about strength; it's about showing vulnerability. Sharing your experiences or perspectives on mental health can cultivate an environment of trust and openness.
2. Policy Makeover: Examine your current policies. Do they support mental health initiatives like regular wellness days, flexible scheduling for therapy, or mental health education? If not, it’s time for a policy makeover! Not sure where to start? Our Human Resources advisors can offer some help!
3. Equip with Resources: Equip your workplace with mental health resources such as in-house counselors, subscriptions to wellness apps, or partnerships with mental health professionals. Ensure these resources are accessible and well-communicated.
4. Educational Workshops and Training: Regular workshops or training sessions on mental health can destigmatize these topics and equip your team with the tools to support each other. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to mental wellness.
5. Create a Culture of Regular Check-Ins: Foster a culture where managers and team leads regularly check in with their team members, focusing on their mental, as well as professional, well-being.
Spotlight on Success Stories
Inspirational alert! Some trailblazing companies have integrated mental health support into their culture with fantastic results — from increased productivity and innovation to improved employee retention and satisfaction. Let these success stories motivate you to champion mental health in your own organization.
By prioritizing mental health, you're not just enhancing productivity; you're enriching lives. You're creating an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and understood. So let’s make mental wellness more than just a policy — let's make it a pillar of our workplace culture. Together, we can turn our offices into spaces where mental health is respected, discussed, and nurtured.
Remember, I'm always here to chat, brainstorm, or offer a word of encouragement. Let’s keep this conversation about mental health as lively and ongoing as our coffee breaks. Here’s to building brighter, healthier, and more empathetic workplaces! Sign up and get your first two weeks of money saving and team building culture analytics for FREE!