April brings us showers, taxes, and stress awareness month. I’m thinking there might be some correlation between stress and taxes, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, with mental health such an important topic these days, it’s good to think about what it all means.
The National Institute of Mental Health provides information describing the differences between stress and anxiety: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/so-stressed-out-fact-sheet, but either can lead to mental and/or physical issues. As managers, you may be personally dealing with the effects of both, but you also need to be aware of how they can affect your employees.
Providing information to your staff about resources you have available through your company is something that should be done throughout the year. Life circumstances are different for us all and don’t necessarily work on a calendar schedule. If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with a mental health component, make sure the information is posted where your staff can easily access it (physically and/or electronically). If you’re not aware of a program but have life insurance or other types of insurances available, check with your broker or carrier as sometimes this help is provided for free along with the coverage.
Even if you don’t have specific access through your organization for mental help, you can post information for your staff as to where they can get assistance. The government offers various resources through the Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.hhs.gov/programs/index.html) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA: https://www.samhsa.gov/ ) . There are typically state resources available, also, such as Texas Health and Human Services (https://www.hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use).
There are other organizations available, too, providing various supports; determine what best suits your organization and provide the contacts so your staff can easily access it. With resources readily available, we need to ensure we’re providing as much information as possible to help people cope when they need a hand.
You can also boost your employees by periodically encouraging stress-reducing activities: journaling, exercise, access to healthy snacks. Incorporate these and more activities as part of your organizational culture.
Working together to reduce stress is good for both businesses and employees.