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Global Mental Health Day: Words Matter

by: | October 10, 2017

October 10th is Global Mental Health Day. A day designed to help raise awareness and open all of our eyes to the realities of mental illness. That need for understanding transcends into the workplace as well.

Did you know that 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem or illness in a given year? Look around at your finance team, your marketing team, or your sales team. There is a high probability that someone you work closely with is battling a mental health issue.

So, how should you respond?

In the past, companies have provided minimal support: bare bones EAP programs and fragmented education campaigns that were rarely talked about or referenced.

Today, employees are under significantly more stress. We work longer hours, bring our work home, are always connected to the office, face increased competition and higher expectations.

But our support for colleagues with mental illness has also changed. According to research on the evolution of workplace mental health, the most meaningful changes relate to increased awareness, understanding and compassion for workplace mental health issues. Lessening the impact of stigma has strongly contributed to employees satisfaction and happiness on the job, and improved workplace practices.

But we have still fallen short. Too many people feel they cannot approach their employer about their mental health situation. Looking at the data, 47% of employees consider their work to be the most stressful part of daily life. But, only 23% of workers would feel comfortable talking to their employer about a psychological health issue.

Business leaders often overlook the role their own management team has in hindering or enabling a positive and supportive work environment.

Think about the words you use, how you mentor, coach and evaluate staff. Performance management approaches that focus on problems, criticism and mis-steps can make things worse. Those managers who use supportive approaches that focus on solutions, wins and employee success help to build confidence and improve employee well-being.

Expectations of employers has shifted. Today’s employees firmly believe their organizations have a bigger role to play in their mental health – and employers need to look beyond the packaged solutions they only renew once per year. A supportive approach to mental health in the workplace needs to start at the top and become ingrained in the fabric of the company, from employee to employee.

The fact is, you can only help your team’s well-being if you better understand the reality of how they approach the workplace on a day-to-day.

Let Global Mental Health Day be the catalyst you need to take action to make your environment be a safe and supportive environment for all employees.

For more insights into how you can help improve the mental health of your company subscribe to our blog today. 

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