Public Interest

How to discuss mental health within an organization: practices for managers and employers

While many organizations have made significant strides in promoting physical health, mental health is often neglected. A recent study found that more than half of the employees who reported having a mental health issue did not receive any support from their employers. This statistic highlights the importance of discussing mental health at an organization. 

Here are some of the practices for managers and employers to effectively address mental health in the workplace:

  • Create a Safe and Supportive Work Environment

It is essential to create a work environment that is safe and supportive for employees to discuss mental health concerns. One way to create a safe environment is by implementing a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment related to mental health. Managers and employers should make it clear that mental health issues will be treated with the same seriousness as physical health concerns.

  • Educate Managers and Employees

Many managers and employees may not know how to recognize the signs of mental health issues or how to support colleagues who are struggling. Educating managers and employees on mental health issues and how to support colleagues who are experiencing mental health challenges is crucial. Training sessions, workshops, or seminars can be organized to provide a better understanding of mental health issues and how to support colleagues who are experiencing them.

  • Offer Mental Health Benefits

Mental health benefits should be included in the organization's health care plan. This can include counseling, therapy sessions, or other forms of mental health support. Additionally, employers should ensure that the mental health benefits are easily accessible, confidential, and affordable.

  • Encourage Open Communication

Employers should encourage open communication between employees and their managers. Employees should feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns with their managers without fear of negative consequences. Regular one-on-one meetings with employees can be a great way to facilitate open communication and address any concerns before they become more significant issues.

  • Provide Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements can help employees who are struggling with mental health issues. For example, allowing employees to work from home or adjust their work schedules can help reduce stress and anxiety. Employers should also encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day, go for a walk or engage in other stress-relieving activities.

  • Lead by Example

Managers and employers should lead by example when it comes to mental health. They should create an environment where mental health is discussed openly and without stigma. By sharing their own experiences with mental health, managers and employers can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage others to seek support.

  • Partner with Mental Health Organizations

Partnering with mental health organizations can provide employees with additional resources and support. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Mental Health America offer a wealth of information and resources that can help employees manage mental health issues.

In conclusion, discussing mental health at an organization is essential for creating a supportive and healthy work environment. By implementing these best practices, managers and employers can create an environment where mental health is openly discussed, and employees are provided with the resources and support they need to manage mental health issues.