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The pandemic has led to an increase in mental health conditions, but pre-COVID numbers were still high. It’s estimated that one in five people are currently struggling with mental illness, and employers have a lot to lose if they ignore their employee’s well-being and overall health.
Why Mental Health Support is Important in the Workplace
Discussing mental health is seen as taboo in the workplace, but your employees want you to champion their mental health and well-being.
Here’s why reaching out is a good idea.
1. Mental Health Support Creates a More Inclusive Workplace
We feel uncomfortable discussing mental health topics at work, but why is that? Although mental health isn’t as stigmatized as it used to be, your employees may fear that they’ll become isolated from their peers or be considered unfit for the job if they’re honest about their struggles.
Employers play an essential role in supporting employees with mental health education. Giving your employees access to resources that encourage awareness, creating an open dialog, and correcting false information are some of the many ways to promote a diverse workplace.
2. Mental Health Support Decreases Team Stress and Other Risks
Unfortunately, stress isn’t uncommon. Whether work is directly related to their anxiety or their stressful personal issues are impacting their performance, everyone needs the proper resources to cope. Without mental health support, stress can start to affect every aspect of our lives.
Emotions are contagious, and absenteeism increases when stress is high. Depression, anxiety, and insomnia can spread throughout the office and develop into more serious physical issues.
3. Mental Health Support Boosts Productivity and Engagement
More than half of all working days lost annually in the US are mental-health related. At least 42% of employees lose 15 to 30 minutes per day in productivity due to stress, and 34% lose an hour or more per day. That means 76% of all US employees aren’t productive most days.
However, a physically and mentally fit employee is more resistant to stress and can maintain a higher level of thinking, decision-making, and productivity than their stressed counterparts. Engagement and productivity go hand in hand, so when you fix one problem, you fix another.
4. Mental Health Support Can Attract and Retain the Best Talent
Remember how we said emotions are contagious? A positive work environment filled with supportive employees is exciting to be around. If your employees want to come to work because they get to interact with their coworkers, they’re less likely to leave at a moment’s notice.
Inclusivity is essential for any workplace because it retains and attracts local talent. Everyone will want to be a part of your company culture, making it easy to find and onboard new staff.
5. Mental Health Support Can Detect and Prevent Illness
It’s estimated that a third of your life is spent working, and studies show that some of the most underpaid positions deal with the most stress. Customer service jobs, for example, are often thankless and rife with deadlines, mounting workloads, customer tempers, and poor job security.
Punishing employees that do their best despite the circumstances is the wrong move. Instead, it’s important to listen to their troubles and try to work out ways to make them feel more comfortable. Teaching your staff how to cope now will prevent debilitating illness in the future.
6. Mental Health Support Can Encourage Creativity and Innovation
Employers value creative and innovative candidates, but these traits are hampered or damaged by stress. Employees need the freedom to come up with incredible ideas. However, your employees won’t have the mental bandwidth to do so if they’re buried under too much work.
Mental health support goes beyond talking things through; you also need to delegate effectively to give your employees some space. A healthy work-life balance can be pretty motivating.
7. Mental Health Support Shows You Care About Your Employees
A large number of employees quit their jobs because of how they feel about their boss. If your employees don’t trust you or they feel disrespected/unappreciated, they’re mental health suffers. For this reason, employers need to thank their employees and offer constructive feedback.
If employers don’t support their employees after they enact any wellness initiative, their words will ring hollow. Upper management has to lead by example if they want to see a noticeable change in the mental health of their employees. Otherwise, they won’t think you actually care.