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7 Ways Managers Can Support Mental Health at Work

Read on to learn the 7 best ways to offer your employees mental health support in the workplace.

When you are trying to improve employee retention or morale, it’s easy to overlook mental health support. As an employer, there are several ways that you can address mental health conditions for a happier, healthier workplace.

The Importance of Workplace Mental Health Resources ⭐️

Poor mental health among employees takes a negative toll on the individual, and, in turn, has a huge impact on your workplace as a whole. While it might initially seem like a budget stressor to invest in mental health resources for your employees, you might be surprised to learn about the benefits that it has. 

A recent Deloitte survey showed that…

  • The median yearly ROI on mental health programs per employee is $1.62.
  • An estimated 500,000 employees are unable to work per week due to poor mental health.
  • Approximately $50 BILLION is lost annually due to poor employee mental health.

The cost of NOT having a strong mental health resource program in place is potentially much greater than the upfront cost of providing support. 

Setting aside the lost productivity costs, you want your employees to feel supported and taken care of in the workplace. And caring for their physical and mental well-being is a huge part of that.

From an employer’s perspective, mental health programs increase productivity and retention rates. From an employee’s perspective, people are happier and healthier when they feel supported by their employer. 

7 Things to Know Before Offering Support 💭

Before you rush to enact new mental health resources and initiatives within your company, there are a few things that you should consider. These questions and points are important factors to keep in mind when it comes to offering mental health resources that your employees will actually use and appreciate…

💡 Start by considering...

  • How does your organization clarify that mental health is a top priority?
  • Who in leadership is accountable for supporting initiatives around mental illness? Human Resources or is there a specialized position?
  • Is your company prepared to handle mental health issues beyond stress, like substance abuse and mental illness?
  • Does your company make mental health services accessible?
  • Is there currently a communicative culture around mental wellness? What can be improved?
  • What training does your company provide leadership to manage employee stress and wellness?
  • How does your organization handle employee feedback regarding mental wellness?

These questions and considerations will be key to enacting thorough and truly beneficial mental health initiatives in your workplace. 

When it comes to mental health, it’s not a place to experiment or throw spaghetti at the wall hoping that it sticks. When you are investing time, energy, and money into your employee’s well-being, you want to make sure that it works.

7 Key Ways to Provide Mental Health Support at Work 🙌

Providing effective mental health resources at work can sometimes feel like an insurmountable feat. But breaking it down into smaller steps will make it an easier task to undertake and prevent your leadership from being overwhelmed. 

Here are seven ways that you can support mental health at work:

1. Offer resources and make employees aware of them 📣

Make resources like coaching, therapy, help lines, and wellness initiatives readily available to your employees. You want to make sure that they have access to the resources that you’ve created before mental health issues become critical. 

It’s always better to be proactive, rather than having to be reactive. 

At Confetti, we encourage our employees to take mental health days that don’t count against their vacation days or PTO. 🏖 The policies around these “take what you need” days are covered in employee onboarding and are publicly accessible on our company wiki, alongside our other mental health resources.

By allowing employees to take days when they need them, and making sure that they know that this time is readily available to them from the start of their tenure at Confetti, our team is able to proactively protect their mental and physical health without worrying about how it affects their PTO or vacation time.

2. Train managers on identifying and handling signs of distress 📚

Team management is about so much more than keeping employees on track for their projects and workload. It’s also about managing the well-being of your team members. 

Your leaders should be trained on how to identify and handle signs of burnout, distress, anxiety, and depression. Again, it’s about proactivity. 

When your managers are in-tune with their team and proactive about preventing burnout it means that potential mental health issues and high levels of stress can be addressed before they worsen. 

3. Remain flexible & inclusive of employee needs 🤸

💡 Everyone’s mental health needs are different. 

In a team of 100, there could potentially be 100 different ways that people experience mental illness and prefer to take care of themselves. 

Your managers and team leaders should be able to adapt their mental health support accordingly. 

Adjusting your support strategies to meet individual needs has many benefits, and mental wellness is just one of them. Employees that are recognized and treated as an individual are more likely to have a better work/life balance and to have higher workplace satisfaction overall. 

At Confetti, our team sizes are between 3-7 people, with 5 being the sweet spot. This ensures that our managers aren’t overwhelmed by having to take care of a large team and that they can work with their team to tailor their practices to individual needs without anyone feeling left behind. 

4. Provide mental health coverage 😷

Mental health support at work doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, one of the best and most straightforward things you can do for your employees is to provide them with mental health coverage.

There are a lot of great team-building activities and wellness initiatives that you can enact within your company, but these almost become void if your staff doesn’t have access to professional help when they need it.

5. Foster a culture of connection 👯

Connection and open communication play a vital role in employees feeling supported in their mental health at work. Your HR department and leadership should not just be equipped to handle business issues — they should be ready to handle human issues as well.

Employees feeling supported and connected to their workplace plays a key role in retention, satisfaction, and overall mental health.

At Confetti, our PeopleOps and HR department conducts regular pulse checks to see how we can improve company culture and employee support as a whole. Department heads and team leads will regularly check in with their teams to ensure that everyone is feeling healthy and supported. 

6. Embrace your own vulnerability 🫂

Opening up about mental health conditions is vulnerable, and can be a difficult topic to approach. But there is value in being open and honest regarding mental health challenges and health problems that you may have faced. 

If you are able and willing to open up and start the conversation, then your employees are more likely to open up as well.

7. Lead the charge 🕺

Leadership should set an example when it comes to workplace mental health initiatives–especially regarding work/life balance. If you are regularly taking calls and making requests outside of work hours, your employees can feel like they have to do the same. 

Remember, just because you’re a leader in your company doesn’t mean you’re magically free from needing breaks and space from work. Leading by example in this regard is better for you and your team. 

Supporting Your Employees & Stopping the Stigma 💚

Addressing mental health in the workplace is an ongoing effort that you can start today. We know that it feels like there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health training, but once you open up the floor to connection and conversation everyone in your workplace will be better for it. 

If you need some ideas for easy and fun ways to kick off the conversation about mental health support at work, check out our Mental Health Month collection. It’s full of fun and easy team building activities that will encourage employees to take a break from the grind and focus on their mental health. 

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