The days of hushed conversations surrounding mental health struggles are gone. People are more comfortable than ever discussing how they’re doing and what they need to find more inner balance. The change also affects professional spaces, which is great for both employees and management teams. Mental health awareness is changing in the workplace, making the future brighter for everyone.
1. Leadership Is Opening Up
A generational myth drove many workers to professional burnout. People believed they’d have less stress when they earned additional promotions and climbed the career ladder because they’d be in higher positions. Those in leadership positions now want to disprove that myth.
Team leaders and C-suite professionals are opening up about their daily stressors. This helps everyone in the workplace gain a clearer understanding of what their careers could hold for their futures. It’s an essential part of mental health awareness in the workplace because everyone can make better career decisions according to what’s in store for them in their jobs.
2. Honest Conversations Are Welcome
It’s natural to avoid scary subjects, but mental health stigma is fading. Online resources that shed light on mental health conditions are helping everyone learn more about this topic, so it isn’t as intimidating. Advocates and experts have brought the issue into the mainstream.
A global survey in 2015 found that 98% of respondents believe that people with mental illness are adversely affected by stigma and discrimination.
When people don’t fear topics like depression and anxiety, they feel more comfortable talking with their co-workers about them. The conversations won’t seem taboo, and neither will opportunities to ask others for help.
3. Mental Health Days Are Acceptable
The use of paid time off (PTO) is another example of how mental health awareness is changing in the workplace. Once used only for vacations or physical illnesses, PTO is also used for mental health days now. Those are days off when you’re not physically sick, but your mind needs a break to recover from a stressful period.
Although many workplaces don’t have specific mental health or wellness days, supervisors are now more comfortable allowing time off for that reason. No one wants to experience burnout or inflict extreme stress on team members, especially when unplugging for a bit will increase your overall productivity after returning to work.
4. Supervisors Allow Hybrid Schedules
The past few years have changed how people view traditional employment. Instead of accepting a daily commute as an unavoidable condition of employment, employees now work with their supervisors to create hybrid schedules.
Working from home for part of the week decreases stress and improves employees’ mental health. Research also shows that companies with hybrid employees can save around $11,000 each year by allowing people to work from home half-time. It’s a beneficial arrangement for everyone in the workplace, so hybrid schedules will continue to grow in popularity.
5. People Have More Workplace Awareness
Mental health awareness in the workplace also needs to happen among employees. Conversations over lunch or during breaks that feature insensitive jokes, intense topics, or ignorant language could trigger those with mental health issues.
Individuals now have more awareness of what they say and do because mental health has become an open topic of conversation at home and in the media. Human resource (HR) departments also strive for inclusive language in training materials, so new employees are aware of how their words impact the mental wellness of others.
6. Insurance Is Covering Mental Health Care
Employer-provided insurance now includes some level of mental health care coverage. Whereas it wasn’t common just a few years ago, people can now look forward to insurance that pays for services such as psychotherapy. If you’re unsure what your insurance covers, read through your plan’s detailed coverage list or check for alternative or supplemental plans that provide the level of mental health coverage that meets your needs.
7. Accountability Applies to Everyone
Support for mental health and wellness isn’t just a luxury provided to people in high-level positions. Crises happen to everyone, so maintaining a safe environment requires holding everyone accountable for their words and actions. HR managers actively support mental health awareness in the workplace by ensuring that those who make others feel unsafe or unwelcome face fair consequences to keep professional environments from turning backward.
8. Training Occurs Frequently
Hearing something only once is like getting advice that goes in one ear and out the other. Managers need to prioritize regular training for their teams. Annual training that focuses on inclusive language and destigmatizing honesty about mental health will foster long-term change so all workers can feel comfortable in their jobs.
Learn More About Mental Health Awareness
When leadership holds everyone accountable and team members are on the same page about defeating mental health stigma, we lessen the risk of employee burnout and triggering experiences.
About the Author: Ginger Abbot is a lifestyle and learning writer who talks about mental health, career development, and personal growth. Read more of her work on Classrooms, where she serves as Editor and contributing writer.
Resources to Recover and Our Sponsor Laurel House Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time for celebrating the outstanding achievements of Blacks and African Americans and their central role in US history. It is also a time to recognize the struggles Black people have faced throughout the history of our nation and give tribute to the strength and resilience of generations of Black Americans who have risen above adversity.
Black History Month originated from an idea by Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson, who wrote the Journal of Negro History in 1916 to herald the achievements of overlooked African Americans in US history and culture. In 1926 he led an effort by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) to officially declare the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” These dates align with the birthdays of two crucial figures in Black American history: Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), who signed the Emancipation Proclamation officially ending slavery in the United States, and the Black American abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass (February 14, 1818), an escaped slave who is widely considered the most influential civil and human rights advocate of the 19th century. In 1976, President Gerald Ford gave official governmental recognition to the observance by declaring February “Black History Month.”
Without the contributions of Blacks and African Americans to more than 500 years of US history, culture, entertainment and the arts, science, athletics, industry and the economy, public service, and the Armed Forces, we would not be the country we are today.
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One thought on “How Mental Health Awareness Is Changing in the Workplace”
Mental illness affects each person differently. This is why it is important for all individuals in the workplace to be aware of potential contributing factors to mental health issues and strategies to maintain a positive pathway to mental health and encourage early reporting of symptoms.