In 2013, a group of researchers in the UK released a paper discussing mental health in the workplace. They took the position that employers could, and should, be champions of mental health among their workers. Their paper went on to discuss things like policy initiatives, employee training, and various ways to motivate positive attitudes.
That paper has since become a standard for encouraging employers to take a proactive role in promoting good mental health among workers. But to be a real champion of mental health, it is not enough to read the paper and agree with it. Companies have to actually do something.
Workers Want Some Help
A Peldon Rose survey released on World Mental Health Day 2018 makes it clear that workers want some assistance in maintaining mental health. The survey considered opinions from workers across all age groups and both sexes. Take a look at some of the things it revealed:
- 72% said they want employers to be champions of mental health
- 48% said mental health was more important than workplace equality
- 38% said mental health was more important than workplace sustainability
- 31% said mental health is more important than workplace diversity
- 44% said that the seasons have an impact on their mental health
- 35% said they have suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The survey was conducted among UK workers but is often cited as being applicable around the world. Assuming it applies here in the U.S., it is clear that employees want their employers to take a proactive approach to helping them maintain mental health.
Tips for Being a Champion
Any company looking to promote mental wellness among employees has no shortage of readily available strategies. They start with treating employees fairly. Believe it or not, the vast majority of workers who admit to experiencing mental health issues at work find those issues rooted in the belief that they are not being treated fairly. They believe their employers are only concerned about the bottom line and not about the workers who feed it.
Treating people fairly does not necessarily mean treating them all alike. Rather, it is a matter of allowing employees to be who they are as long as they meet the expectations of their jobs. This is a big issue for employers who require conformity in every respect.
Here are some other strategies to consider:
- Train Management – Managers of all levels can and should be trained in mental health policies. They need to learn that how they do their jobs affects the mental health of those they supervise. Management should be trained in conflict resolution, different personality types, etc.
- Work-Life Balance – The elusive work-life balance has been a subject of discussion for years. It is time to stop talking about it and start putting it into practice. Employers need to make a real effort to honor the lives workers have away from the workplace. Employees do not exist solely for the benefit of employers.
- Raising Awareness – Employers can do their workers a big favor by helping to raise awareness of mental health issues. This can be done through training opportunities, literature, awareness campaigns, and so forth.
Championing mental health is more than just a principle discussed in a research paper. It is an idea whose time has come in the modern workplace. If your company is concerned about mental health, it is time to start taking steps to promote wellness within the ranks of your workers. Just talking about mental health and agreeing it is a good idea isn't enough to actually accomplish the goal.