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Protecting The Mental Well Being Of Your Employees

It’s been a tough couple of years, hasn’t it? Did you know that 4 in 10 adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder? Before the pandemic, this stood at 1 in 10 adults. This statistic alone shows that more people are struggling than they ever have been.

Every year, around 20% of Americans will suffer from a mental illness. However, only one in three who require assistance will receive it. What does this mean in the workplace? Many individuals will miss work as a result, or they’ll perform less at their jobs if they show up. The second, known as presenteeism, occurs when employees go to work while suffering from physical or mental ailments. This is why, as an employer, or a team leader, it is important to make sure that you take an interest in the mental health and well-being of your employees.

So, let’s look at how you can protect the mental wellbeing of your employees, and your bottom line.

Get team leaders on board

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. The mental health of your employees is something which should be at the forefront of your mind. How can you protect them? Employers need to send a clear message that staff wellbeing matters. The way your leaders behave makes a difference. If your CEO speaks out about mental health, it lets staff members know that you care about their wellbeing.

Help your company’s leaders be more aware of and invested in this aspect of their employees’ well-being. You can do this by:

  • making mental health training mandatory for the team leaders and managers;
  • training the managers to know what actions they can take if they see signs of emotional distress, so they can react in a helpful way, not in a punitive one;
  • using tools. There are surveys such as the Work Limitations Questionnaire and the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire. These are helpful to measure how your employees’ health and stress levels affect their productivity.

Raise awareness

It’s important to emphasize the importance of mental health in the workplace. One of the most significant challenges an organization may face when it comes to mental health is the stigma surrounding mental illness, stress, and other related topics. Employees may be hesitant to come forward and discuss their personal or professional stressors, for fear they will be labeled ineffective. This is exacerbated by the fact that we’re in a pandemic, experiencing a climate of great resignation, and seeing mass layoffs, furloughs, and high unemployment.

In such a climate, when communication comes from the top, it’s most effective. Letting your people know that you are never too busy to take time out for emotional wellbeing lets them know that the company values mental health and that it makes mental health awareness a company priority.

There are several ways you can boost awareness about mental health in the workplace, for example:

  • Encouraging mental health campaigns to promote good mental health and well-being. Being open about the signs of emotional distress in your employees, and how to find help should they need it.
  • Offering workshops and seminars on stress management or mental health promotion. Inviting mental health speakers where they can share how to tackle mental health crisis in the workplace.
  • You can go even further by encouraging employees to share their experiences about these types of topics, so others can find strength from realizing they’re not alone in what they’re going through.
  • Offer Mental Health First Aid courses to leaders and managers. Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education course that teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Protect your people from mental illness stigma. Stigma is a major barrier when it comes to productivity in an office setting, and avoidance of treatment can exacerbate symptoms which then end up having a negative impact on both employee output and their wellbeing.
  • Embed mental health into your induction and training, and so much more.

Treat people as individuals

This one should go without saying, so we’ll keep it brief.


Enough said.

What causes one person stress may be different to what causes another person stress. It is important to treat everyone individually and to avoid judgment.

Address workplace triggers

It is important to address some of the common workplace triggers in terms of stress and anxiety. This includes:

  • Poorly managed change or job insecurity
  • Poor managerial support
  • Poor internal communication; difficult interpersonal relationships
  • Lone working conditions
  • High-risk roles
  • A poor physical working environment
  • Inability to use annual leave
  • Lack of control over work or unmanageable workloads
  • Overly pressurized working environments
  • Unrealistic deadlines or expectations
  • No breaks and long hours

If you work actively to eradicate these issues, you can reduce stress levels considerably in the workplace.

Create a culture of openness, and Promote dialogue, feedback, and engagement

Speak regularly with members of your team to see how they are doing and to reflect. Also, it’s important not to expect employees to open up overnight. Regardless of it, normalizing conversations about mental health is crucial.

It’s also encouraged to involve your staff members in decision-making and open dialogue about mental health in the workplace. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Encourage feedback from staff on board decisions
  • Work-stream groups that bring together distinct parts of the business
  • Frequent group problem-solving meetings or innovation events
  • Planning “away days”
  • Quarterly or monthly performance review meetings, followed by one-on-one conversations
  • Engagement steering groups
  • Diversity networks and staff forums
  • Focus groups and staff surveys, and more.

Final words on team well being and mental health

We can all agree that no one deserves to live with mental illness – whether it’s visible or not. Workplaces may either contribute to or exacerbate mental health issues. In a recent post-pandemic survey, 76% of employees believe their company should be doing more to protect the mental health of their workforce.

Perhaps the single most important factor in improving this is to start having conversations about mental health, so that more people can get the help they need. The importance of awareness and conversation should not be ignored. Looking after your team is important not only from a moral perspective but also in terms of the health of your business as a whole.

We hope some of the actions laid out in this article will help you start working towards a workplace that supports employee mental health and illness, so you can ensure that your employees feel better, and therefore do better.

About the Author

Kree Pandey

Kree Pandey

Kree Pandey is a Content Strategist and Digital Marketer powering growth goals for brands with purpose. Founder and CEO of ShiftCreatives Digital® and Co-Founder of No Names Digital, Kree's work and passion collide at the intersection of 'Brand' and 'Impact'. After working with numerous clients across sectors like Real Estate, SaaS, Education, Retail, Finance, Sustainability, HR and many more, Kree has found that her niche isn't any particular industry, but it's brands that are seriously driven by impact, understand the value of brand equity, and aren't dabbling.

At InnovatorsBox®, Kree's main focus is augmenting its digital presences. Kree is also a mom to a 2 year old, and losing hair fast!

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