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Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace

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In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, mental health has become an increasingly important issue. Mental health concerns in the workplace can affect the performance and productivity of employees, as well as the overall success of a company. Yet, despite the growing awareness of the importance of mental health, there is still a stigma associated with mental health conditions, which can prevent employees from seeking the help they need.

In this blog post, we will explore how we can break the stigma and promote mental health awareness in the workplace.

Facts You Should Know About Mental Health in the Workplace:

  1. Mental health concerns in the workplace can impact employee performance and productivity, as well as the overall success of a company.
  2. Despite growing awareness, a stigma is still associated with mental health conditions that can prevent employees from seeking help.
  3. Mental health conditions are common and can affect anyone, ranging from mild anxiety and depression to serious conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  4. Mental health conditions are not a sign of weakness or personal failure but rather medical conditions that can be treated.

Ways Employers Can Help Prioritize Their Employees Mental Health:

  1. Provide A Range of Mental Health Options

Access to counseling, therapy, or peer support groups. By offering a variety of resources, employees can choose the support that is most helpful for them. This can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help when they need it.

  1. Include The Importance of Employee Mental Health in The Company’s Mission Statement

By including the importance of employee mental health in the company’s mission statement, values, and goals, employers can demonstrate their commitment to creating a supportive workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being. This sends a powerful message to employees that their mental health is a top priority for the company. It can help create a sense of community and purpose among employees, who are more likely to feel motivated and engaged when they believe in the values and goals of their company.

  1. Offer Mental Health or Wellness Days as Part of the Sick Leave Policy

Allowing employees time off to focus on their mental health without feeling guilty or stigmatized can help reduce the risk of burnout and improve employee morale. By allowing employees the time they need to focus on their mental health, employers can demonstrate that they prioritize the well-being of their workforce. This can lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce that is better equipped to handle the demands of their jobs.

  1. Create a Confidential Reporting System

 Implementing a system for employees to report any mental health concerns or workplace stressors allows the employer to take necessary action to address the issue and support the employee. A safe space where employees feel their voices will be heard and acknowledged is crucial to advancing a positive workplace environment.

  1. Provide Training and Education for the Leadership Team

Training on recognizing and responding to concerns about mental health and substance use in the workplace can help create a supportive and non-judgmental environment for employees to seek help. This training can educate managers and employees on the warning signs of common mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and burnout. Additionally, the training can provide resources and guidance on where to refer employees who may need more specialized support.

  1. Create a Culture of Flexibility and Understanding

When it comes to mental health concerns, employers should be willing to accommodate employee needs, such as adjusting work schedules or providing temporary job modifications, to help them manage their mental health. Ensure that accommodations for mental health needs are provided without discrimination or negative impact on career advancement opportunities.

Ways You Can Prioritize Your Mental Health at Work

  1. Take breaks: One of the easiest ways to prioritize your mental health in the workplace is by taking regular breaks throughout the day. This can help you to recharge and refocus, reducing stress and improving productivity.
  1. Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries to protect your mental health in the workplace. This might mean saying no to additional work when you feel overwhelmed or limiting your work hours to avoid burnout.
  1. Practice mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. You can practice mindfulness at your desk or during a break to help you stay focused and calm.
  1. Connect with colleagues: Building positive relationships can help create a supportive and inclusive work environment. This can include taking time to chat with colleagues, joining a workplace social group, or seeking out a mentor or support network.
  1. Seek support: If you’re struggling with your mental health in the workplace, it’s important to seek support. This might mean speaking with a supervisor or HR representative or seeking help from a mental health professional.
  1. Prioritize self-care: It’s important to prioritize self-care outside of work to support your mental health. This can include engaging in regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in hobbies or activities that bring you joy.
  1. Use your vacation time: Taking time off work is crucial for maintaining good mental health. Use your vacation time to relax, recharge, and focus on your personal life. Disconnecting from work can help you return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
  1. Decorate your workspace: Your workspace can significantly impact your mental health. Adding personal touches, such as photos, plants, or calming colors, can create a more comfortable and welcoming environment. This can help you to feel more relaxed and focused, even during stressful times at work.

In conclusion, prioritizing mental health in the workplace is a positive step for everyone involved. By working together to create a supportive and inclusive environment, employees feel more valued and supported, leading to improved job satisfaction, engagement, and retention rates. Additionally, prioritizing mental health can lead to better overall performance and success for the company, as employees are more likely to feel motivated and productive. Breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues is crucial for creating a healthier workplace culture.


About the Author: Lindsey Rae Ackerman, LMFT, CHHC, is the Adult & Teen Mental Health Clinical Director at Clear Behavioral Health. She oversees all aspects of mental health treatment, including therapists, curriculum programming, and clinician notes, and provides training to develop clinical skills if necessary. 

Photo by fauxels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/colleagues-shaking-each-other-s-hands-3184291/

May Is Mental Health Month 2023

"Look Around, Look Within"

May is Mental Health Month, a time to spread public awareness and education about mental health disorders and reflect on the impact of mental illness on individuals and their families.

The theme of this year's Mental Health Month is to take some time to "Look Around, Look Within." The goal this May is to challenge yourself to examine your world and how it can affect your overall mental health – from your neighborhood to genetics, many factors come into play when it comes to mental health.

It is also a time to recognize and commit to changing the racial and economic inequities in our healthcare system, particularly with respect to mental health.

www.rtor.org and Laurel House are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice and to making mental health services accessible to all.

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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1 thoughts on “Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace

  1. Ashutosh Joshi says:

    Great piece Lindsey. Ensuring employees are mentally healthy is also lucrative for employers: according to a 2016 WHO report, investing in treating anxiety and depression leads to a fourfold return. Working towards better mental health is a win-win for both!

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