As we get closer to year end and the various celebrations that fall within this time frame (and associated stress and anxiety that can go along with it), it seems appropriate to me that October is Depression and Mental Health Awareness Month.
Are we doing enough at work to support our employees' mental health? Do we reach out (or even notice) when an employee seems to be going through some sort of crisis or do we pretend not to notice to “save their feelings” or because we "want" or “expect” separation from work life and personal? If nothing else, the pandemic was an in-your-face reminder that our work lives and personal lives do intermix.
Life is too short. We need to help each other whenever the opportunity arises.
So what do you do as a manager in this situation? Does your team know you care? Would they feel comfortable reaching out to you if something is affecting their work? Do you have the resources to provide them if they need help? Many companies have access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Is the information posted in areas employees see it? Do you as a manager know how to access it?
We absolutely need to value our employees’ privacy and should not try to pry information out of them that is not specifically job related. But we can make sure we’re clearly and frequently promoting the tools available so that they can reach out when/if they need. We are fortunate to have many resources available—we need to make sure we remind people they are there when needed.
The new number for the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline is 988 (https://988lifeline.org ). The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233 (www.thehotline.org ). The National Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 800-662-4357 (www.samhsa.gov).
Keep this information and any related benefits you have available posted for your staff and let them know you care. Send out reminders of the resources periodically. If you have remote employees, send the information to them in an email or attachment or post it somewhere online they see often. We never know what’s going on in the minds of others and we can easily provide some resources that may make a difference.
Let’s help each other out where we can.