Employer Solutions | 6 months ago

How Employers can Curb Mental Health Issues

Identify, Prevent, Provide Resources

In the modern workplace, certain health problems can be easily identified and prevented. Companies can install safety equipment to prevent slips and falls, stock lunchrooms with nutritious food options to help combat obesity and diabetes, or introduce fitness classes to help prevent heart disease. But what about mental health issues? As we’ve shared, these illnesses can be just as painful and costly as any other physical ailment from both an employer and employee standpoint, but by nature they are more difficult to identify and then treat. Any steps an employer can take to help reduce the likelihood that a mental health issue will arise offer immeasurable benefit to both the company and the employee.

How Employers Can Curb Mental Health Issues

There are several ways an employer can help employees curb a mental health challenge entirely, or identify and treat it before it becomes overwhelming.
  • Change the Culture: The first step any employer must take when dealing with mental health challenges is to remove the stigma associated with seeking help. Many employees suffer silently with these issues because they are too embarrassed to say anything or fear they may lose their job. It is the company’s responsibility to make it clear that employees are encouraged to seek help if it is needed.
  • Offer Resources: Once an employee has identified that a mental health illness is present and they need help, employers should have a clear plan in place to access help and resources. To minimize potential embarrassment and reduce the likelihood that employees will be too intimidated to raise their hands for help, these resources should be discussed early and often. New employees should receive a walk-through of the benefits plan when they are hired and regular updates should be offered throughout the year.
  • Spruce Up: The work environment can also contribute to mental health challenges. Sitting for long periods of time, a lack of natural light and poor communication can all contribute to symptoms of depression. Similarly, rapid deadlines and an impractical workload can contribute to bouts of anxiety. Employers can help their staff enjoy a more positive work environment by proactively reviewing the office arrangement on a regular basis. Adjust work flows and staffing as needed and provide clear communication regarding deadlines and expectations.
  • Train Others: Of course, there are some cases where a mental health challenge will arise that has nothing to do with the workplace environment. In those cases, employers should ensure that key staff members are trained to recognize warning signs of a mental health issue so they can reach out to the employee in question or a manager to seek assistance.
  • Take Action: Above all else, stopping mental health issues before they start is in everyone’s best interest. For employees, it means living a healthy, more satisfying lifestyle. For employers, it can have a significant impact on the day-to-day operations and efficiency of the workplace.

Share With Us

Does your company have a proactive plan to prevent mental health issues in your office? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @HEALTHWORKS and on LinkedIn. Also, visit CarolinasHealthcare.org/EmployerSolutions for more information about how healthcare costs affect your bottom line.