How Can Employers Prioritize Holistic Mental Well-Being in the Workplace?
Mental health was thrust into the societal spotlight as the pandemic forced many to balance a global health crisis with their personal and work priorities. COVID-19 has increased awareness about the need for mental health support, but that expansion in awareness hasn’t kept pace with the increase in mental health issues.
Businessolver’s 2022 State of Workplace Empathy data reveals that 1 in 2 employees and HR professionals experienced a mental health issue in the past year, with 69% saying it was a direct result of the pandemic.
According to NAMI, only 46% of U.S. adults who experienced a mental health issue received treatment in 2020. Worse still is that 1 in 3 people live in a “mental health professional shortage area,” underscoring how important it is there to be multiple access points, support systems, and resources in place to help people manage their mental well-being.
At Businessolver, we’re big believers that supporting mental health starts from the top. The more awareness employers can create, the more they can help destigmatize mental health in the workplace and create a supportive environment for employees.
But awareness and support must extend beyond crisis intervention and account for preventive mental well-being with resources and workplace cultures to benefit employees wherever they are on their health journey.
Why preventive mental well-being is important
Health is holistic—you can’t separate physical and mental well-being. Yet much of today’s mental health support targets crisis intervention, not preventive wellness.
Currently, nearly 60 million people in the U.S. live with mental illness, many of them in their prime working years. Data shows that mental illness can have a direct impact on comorbidities, such as risk of heart disease and chronic condition management, resulting in higher health risks for employees and higher costs for employers through decreased productivity and increased medical claims.
However, data from meQuilibrium shows that when people have increased resilience, they’re better equipped to manage their well-being, even in the face of adversity, because they’re armed with the ability to self-manage and self-actualize in the moment.
5 preventive mental well-being strategies HR teams can use today
Building resilience and mental health support into a workplace culture won’t look the same for every organization—since, just like people, no two employees are alike. But by maximizing preventive tactics and resources, human resource teams can work to meet their employees with empathy and support.
Here are five strategies HR teams can implement today:
- Turn employees—especially managers—into mental health marketers.
- Use team check-ins and one-on-ones to gauge how employees are doing personally and professionally.
- Provide training and education, like mental health first aid, to help drive awareness and advocacy.
- Give employees more flexibility at work with clear guidelines.
- Gather and leverage employee feedback to discern gaps in benefits, resources, and tools for managing mental health.
Want to learn more about a beyond the band-aid approach? Watch the webinar on-demand.