May is Mental Health Awareness month and I imagine most agree there is need for resources and support. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness, with less than half receiving treatment. A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, notes that 1 in 3 U.S. employees say their job has had a negative impact on their mental health over the past 6 months.
Various studies show workers expressing burnout and fatigue and that mental health affects absenteeism, productivity, and job satisfaction.
What are you doing as a manager for yourself and your employees to encourage better mental health? Is it discussed at work or is it not acknowledged so you can pretend it isn’t there? Employees are increasingly looking to their companies for help, and we need to do what we can.
Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Even if you’re part of a small company, you may have resources (various benefit vendors have EAP as a resource in their product offerings)—check with your insurance brokers if you provide any type of insurance (i.e., medical, dental, vision, life, disability, etc.). And if you do have it, make sure you send out information and reminders throughout the year. It’s easy to forget benefits you aren’t using!
If you don’t have resources through your organization, or even if you do, there are lots of helpful organizations offering free or discounted resources: www.nami.org (noted above); Suicide and Crisis Hotline—call 988 or www.988lifeline.org; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: www.samhsa.gov; are just a few. Post information on these and/or other services for employee access. Add local or state organizations, too. The more options you can provide, the more likely your employees may get the right help.
We should encourage overall wellness, and mental health is a large part of that. Make sure your staff knows you care about their well-being by doing what you can to provide support: offer resources, provide education, promote flexibility where possible, ask employees what you can do to help; these are all possibilities.
Improving mental health benefits us all.