Businesses can have a significant impact on the mental health of their employees—especially during times of crisis. But education is needed. We must raise awareness that mental health conditions are not the result of weakness, character, or upbringing. It is important to end the stigma around mental health, so people feel comfortable seeking care.
Because mental health issues can be worsened by isolation, it is important now more than ever to focus on mental wellness. Show care for your employees by addressing ways to protect their mental health and educating them on how mental health struggles can affect behavior, emotion, and thinking. Here are some ways to support your employees’ mental wellness during these trying times:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides a thorough guide to help the general public during this difficult time. Encourage employees to utilize resources like this as well as employee assistance programs or other resources your business might provide. Utilization rates of employee assistance programs (EAPs) are low, so providing reminders of where to go for help in times of crisis is critically important. The average person waits nearly a decade to get help with a mental health condition, and 8 out of 10 report not seeking treatment due to the stigma surrounding mental health.
During a time of crisis, it is common for everyone to experience heightened levels of distress and anxiety. Strive to create a culture where seeking assistance for a mental health challenge is as routine as getting help for any other concern. Promote balance and provide flexibility and support when possible. Consider this a time of physical—not social—distancing. Continue to communicate values that include respect and a general philosophy of wellness to inspire empathetic behaviors across the business.