Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day, and after the past year-and-a-half, people have started to take a closer look at their mental health and how it’s affected by their daily lives.
Historically, work tends to be a major stressor and contributor to poor mental health for reasons such as work-life balance (or lack thereof), pandemic-related anxiety, layoffs, and questions about future career paths.
Workers spend the majority of their lives at their jobs, so it’s the employer’s responsibility to make the workplace a supportive and safe place to be.
Keep reading for a few ways to support your workers’ mental health not only on Oct. 10 but throughout the year.
To take the pulse of your workers’ mental states, check in with them individually and frequently. Avoid situations where there might be an audience, and give your full attention to your worker so they feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Your staff may not open up to you right away, but the more you set aside time to chat with them about non-work subjects, the more ease they’ll feel to approach you with difficult matters later on.
Evaluate Worker Benefits
You may not be in the position to provide full healthcare benefits to your staff, but consider other ways you can offer support for their health. For example, a flexible spending account can help them set aside funds to pay for various medical needs like doctor’s appointments and prescriptions.
If you’re not able to offer any type of employer-sponsored benefits, consider creating a resource center of healthcare providers who offer mental health services. This “center” can be a printed list on a bulletin board in your breakroom, or an online repository of names, addresses, and phone numbers that workers can consult at their leisure.
Be sure to include providers who offer services either on a sliding scale or at discounted rates.
Connect Workers to Each Other
Sometimes the best medicine for the mind is human connection. Connect your workers for weekly one-to-one chats over coffee, or institute a monthly meetup for a small group of workers.
Host team-building activities like monthly lunches, escape rooms, potlucks, or holiday parties. These can help build morale and give workers something to look forward to.
Coming together and sharing experiences gives people a sense of community, which can alleviate the isolating aspects of mental illness.
Workers who feel supported on all levels are more likely to be more productive and more satisfied at work, which not only can reap big benefits for your company but also can help you foster a more pleasant work environment for your entire staff.