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Leading the Way to a Culture of Care at Work

2 min read

Employee mental health is vital to the overall health of a business. Studies show those with high stress are more likely to miss work or be less engaged, which can negatively affect an organization’s bottom line. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health reports the cost of depression to the U.S. economy is more than $210 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity. The American Psychological Association offers the following tips to improve workplace mental health:

Train managers to promote health and well-being

As a leader, set the tone by modeling healthy behaviors and encouraging managers to do the same. Provide resources on how to support mental health and well-being.

Increase options for where, when and how employees work

Flexibility and autonomy can boost motivation, productivity, and satisfaction, reducing stress and burnout.

Examine health insurance policies

Make sure plans cover mental health services and that employees are aware of the benefits and resources available.

Listen

Understand employee challenges, concerns and needs. Solicit feedback on how to improve the work environment and culture. By doing so, you can build trust, empathy and engagement. 

Take a critical look at equity, diversity, and inclusion

Creating a fair and diverse workplace can foster a sense of belonging, respect and value. It may help prevent discrimination, harassment and bias, which can negatively affect mental health. Review policies and practices to ensure they are transparent and consistent.

Trust your instincts.

Better to err on the side of caution than miss a chance to save a life. Over the last decade, U.S. suicide rates have increased, ranking highest among adults ages 45 to 64 and second highest in ages 25 to 44. Look for warning signs that indicate risk:

  • Missing or not completing work
  • Talking about pain, feeling trapped or a burden
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much; withdrawn or isolated
  • Extreme mood swings, rage; seeking revenge.
  • Get professional help

Many providers offer education to employers as well as treatment for children, teens and adults with some hospitals offering a no-cost, confidential assessment 24/7. Inpatient programs provide a therapeutic structure to stabilize acute symptoms. Physicians, nurses and therapists develop individualized treatment plans to address medication needs, while individual, group and family therapy sets goals for recovery in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Remember, taking care of your mental health is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength. If you or your team needs support, lead the way!

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