Providing mental health support at work means creating a workplace where all employees are empowered to do good work, be successful, and contribute to the team.
This article will address what mental fitness is, how mental health affects employees on the job, and how to support employees on their mental fitness journey.
WHAT IS MENTAL FITNESS?
The definition of mental fitness is simple. It’s all about exercising your mind to boost your overall sense of wellbeing.
Just like you lift weights to build your physical muscles, you can practice meditation, journaling, deep breathing, and many other techniques to build your mental fitness muscles.
These mental fitness exercises can change your brain and help promote better overall wellbeing. For instance, practicing meditation regularly can shrink the amygdala, the part of your brain that triggers the fight or flight response. The prefrontal cortex—the area that helps us focus—then grows.
This is called neuroplasticity. It’s the power of mental fitness.
WHY DOES MENTAL FITNESS MATTER AT WORK?
When employees are mentally fit, they can focus better on work. They are more:
Mental fitness is one of the best habits your company can make and promote.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AT WORK?
Most health insurance covers standard mental health support such as mental health counseling sessions or prescription drug coverage. But mental health support at work can—and should—go beyond that.
It’s essential to give employees access to a wide array of tools for mental fitness.
MENTAL WELLNESS AREAS TO SUPPORT
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions
- Chronic stress
- Sleep issues
TOOLS FOR MENTAL FITNESS TO PROVIDE EMPLOYEES
- Financial wellness
- Life coaching
- Guided meditation
- Deep breathing exercises
- Sleep music
- Chair massage
Mental health issues are surrounded by a social stigma that makes people who are suffering feel isolated, ashamed, and fearful. By addressing that stigma head-on, employers can help their workers thrive in the workplace
WHY PROVIDE EMPLOYEES WITH MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AT WORK?
When people deal with tough mental health conditions, it’s challenging to navigate through work and life. Supporting employees dealing with these conditions means a healthier workplace for everyone, and allows people dealing with mental health problems to contribute meaningful work to the world.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that over 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety disorders. Close to 50% of those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will also be diagnosed with depression and vice versa.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another condition that makes it very difficult to keep a job, much less excel at it. Workplace support for employees with PTSD can help them succeed on the job and heal.
One in four American adults is suffering from a mental health condition right now. For the rest of us—we still need to work on our mental fitness so we can perform our best on and off the job.
HOW TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT TO EMPLOYEES
First off, provide employees with a mental health program. Once you have that in place, keep mental fitness going by providing some of the following:
- Meditation sessions
- Regular massage to reduce stress
- Lunch and learn topics
- Walking meetings
- Step competitions
- A whole month dedicated to mental wellness (Mental Health Awareness Month in May)
Encouraging and allowing for a good work-life balance is also key to making the workplace less stressful and more productive. This could mean offering flexible schedules, telecommuting options, or unlimited vacation days.
Another idea for mental wellness at work is to offer private support groups run by an outside facilitator. And anonymous mental wellness surveys might be helpful too. This can help HR leaders get a gauge on how their employees are doing on the job and if there is any support they’d like from the company.
For more on supporting employee mental fitness and getting a mental health program for your team, check out these articles:
- Your Guide to the EAP Implementation and Search Process
- Wellness Incentives to Offer Your Employees
- How to Talk About Mental Health in the Workplace
LEARN ABOUT THE POWER OF SELF-CARE
Download the Mental Health Tool Kit to learn about mental health in the workplace – what it is, why it matters, and how you can start supporting employee mental health!
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