Even though Mental Health Awareness Month is over, individuals and companies can still keep mental health top of mind. This article shares three key ways to do just that on a budget.
This blog post is inspired by the final Key Conversation on Mental Health live stream for the month of May 2022. You can check out the entire conversation below.
Why? Attitudinal barriers, like the stigma around mental health, are mainly to blame.
Here are three simple ways your company can continue the mental health conversation on a budget.
3 Ways to Continue the Mental Health Conversation in Your Workplace
1. Lead the Way as a Manager
When managers are open with their direct reports about their own mental health, employees will feel more comfortable speaking up.
Managers need to be taught how to have these conversations and what to say and what not to say. For example, it is critical for managers to validate employees' feelings but not to solve their problems for them. People want to be validated and understood. They want empathy.
When managers are equipped with the tools to have mental health conversations, they are less likely to shut the conversations down or pass the employee on to HR or the company EAP.
Conversations on mental health cannot stop at the manager if the company wants to build a culture that breaks down mental health stigmas.
The Manager Training Handbook is a great resource to share with your managers and use as a training guide. You can access it here.
2. Have Executives Lead with Empathy
The executive team needs to lead with empathy if they want to carry the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month with them throughout the year. Haeli Harris, Lead Clinician of Nivati and licensed counselor, explains the importance of leadership starting the mental health conversation: "I think it's important that when anyone goes into an executive role or managerial role that they know they know that this part [talking about mental health] is also part of the job. The company... the work piece... there's also this people piece, where you have to have empathy and care about the people on your team as well."
"A big part [of empathy] that a lot of people struggle with is putting yourself in that person's shoes and really trying to understand that their struggles are real and that their struggles are valid. Even though it might not be what you struggle with, and it might sound super easy... but to this person, this is a real struggle, and we need to validate that for them."
3. Educate Employees On Mental Health Resources
Employees may not know about the mental health benefits your company offers. It's the leadership team's job to educate employees on these resources and any other free resources that the local community may provide. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a great one to share. You can also check out nivati.com/emergency for additional hotlines.
Here are some ways companies can educate employees on mental health:
- Hold a mental health lunch and learn or workshop.
- Send an email or otherwise announce to employees that your company offers an EAP or mental health program and incentivize them to use it.
- Hold support groups or other small group mental health conversations at your company.
- Share The Ultimate Employee Mental Health Kit with employees, which includes mental health resources and strategies to build mental fitness.
For more on talking about mental health at work, check out these articles:
- Why Talking About Mental Health at Work Should Be Okay
- How to Talk About Mental Health in the Workplace
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