For the month of May, the nation promoted Mental Health Awareness Month with a multitude of social media posts and learning opportunities. Compass also presented our own webinar on “Improving your Workplace Mental Health Strategy”. As a licensed therapist, I am an advocate and ambassador for mental health and wellness and I was energized to see people sharing and speaking on such an important topic. Mental Health Awareness month may be behind us, but we need to make the commitment to keep the conversation going.
While it is true that we are still seeking to completely destigmatize talking about and seeking support for mental health, we can no longer compartmentalize key aspects of ourselves as we show up for work. Mind Share Partners’ Mental Health at Work report noted that 84% of people said that their workplace conditions contributed to at least one mental health challenge. In the same study, 81% of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future. Work plays a significant role in most of our lives and workplace stress has been identified as one of the biggest sources of employee anxiety and depression. This is too important to not get right.
We also know that this is more than just an HR issue. The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health [KR1] has set the bar for supporting mental health in the workplace. They provide key best practices to help all organizations prioritize mental health. The recommendations include critical focus areas of: Supportive Workplace Culture, Benefits that Support Mental Health, Caring beyond Compliance, and Holistic Wellness at Work.
All organizations can take immediate action to ensure they can respond to mental health needs for their team. Process improvements such as making sure all employees have an updated emergency contact on file, and an easy process for accessing that information. Communication improvements such as distributing and publicizing the national crisis hotline of 988 that can be texted at any time to support you or someone else in crisis.
Above all, it starts with awareness and I’m thankful that the month of May gave us that stage. We know real change takes time, especially at an organizational level. The key is to understand and employ empathy – starting today. Rest assured that you don’t have to be a trained therapist to support those around you. Giving someone the experience of being seen and heard is invaluable. Brené Brown presents empathy as communicating a healing message that “you’re not alone”. We don’t have to have experienced the same situation to understand the feeling behind it. At the end of the day, we all want to be made to feel that we matter and have the ability to do well.
If you’d like to collaborate on assessing your workplace for mentally healthy best practices, or are interested in providing a Mental Health education session, or leadership skills training, please reach out: Lisa@wearecompass.com
Let’s prioritize creating mentally healthy workplaces while we keep Mental Health Awareness top of mind every month.