20 tips for supporting team mental health

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Mental health is a critical component of every employee’s wellbeing and should be a top priority in all workplaces. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 51% of workers have reported an increase in mental health symptoms at work, with 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds reporting one or more mental health symptom. Overall, anxiety levels have tripled, while signs of depression have quadrupled.

Finding ways to improve each team member’s mental health in the workplace requires intentional and continual leadership commitment and action. A healthy workplace requires buy-in from business owners, executives, and managers all the way down to front-line supervisors and employees. Here are 20 things leaders at different levels can do to better support the mental health of every team member.

Develop policies for a safe, inclusive, and equal culture

Your organization’s culture comprises its values, expectations, and practices, each of which sets the tone for how employees perceive, engage, and follow leaders. The National Safety Council outlines six areas that are foundational for policies addressing mental health in the workplace:

  1. Understanding mental health and mental illness
  2. Knowing the relationship between mental health, mental illness, and the workplace
  3. Perceiving the impacts of COVID-19 on team members
  4. Taking action
  5. Addressing stigma and other barriers to success
  6. Measuring success

The policies you develop lay the foundation for how your entire organization interacts with its customers, vendors, and employees. When policies, written and unwritten, provide a safe, inclusive, and equal culture throughout your organization, it also improves health across all other areas, including your team’s mental health and your company’s performance.

Enroll in workplace mental health training

Mental health symptoms aren’t new, but they impact team members at an increasing and alarming rate, making it a top area for trainers and for leaders looking to build and maintain healthier teams. The impact of mental health is complex; understanding the basics requires specialized training. Mental health training can be a preventive approach to mental health issues whereby leaders can gain insight into the types of signs they should look for that might indicate a team member needs more help and support. This training can also offer leaders the tools they need to provide the support required.

Solicit outside professionals 

Training isn’t the end of being prepared to support each team member in their quest for better mental health; it’s the beginning. Training provides a basis for being more supportive, but implementing policies and taking action to improve mental health and resilience could require mental health professionals.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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