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Four Ways Employers Can Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

“One of my coworker’s students committed suicide last summer. When my coworker found out, she didn’t say anything. However, I was able to recognize that something was wrong and I asked about it. We came together as a team and shared how we were feeling, and all provided support to my coworker.

“The Mental Health First Aid training helped me lead the conversation and provide my co-worker with the support that she needed.” – Ivon Perez, Mental Health First Aider

Ivon’s experience is not unique. Research shows that one in four adults faces a mental health challenge every single day and, unfortunately, the challenge doesn’t go away when you’re at work. In fact, entering an unhappy or unhealthy work environment every day can make it even more difficult to manage an emotional situation, mental health or substance use problem.

That’s where employers come in. Employers play an important role in creating a supportive and understanding workplace environment for all employees. By taking these simple steps, you can help improve employee mental health and morale and also increase productivity.

  1. Create a foundation of trust. 

    Mental health and substance use challenges can be hard to talk about, especially in the workplace. As an employer, it’s important to create a foundation of trust between management and employees so employees feel comfortable communicating their personal concerns to a supervisor and using available resources.

  2. Reduce the stigma. 

    High performing teams can unintentionally isolate coworkers who may be feeling depressed or anxious. As an employer, it’s important to find ways to reduce the stigma around mental health. Talking about mental health concerns, stress management and self-care openly can help employees feel more comfortable voicing their concerns and needs.

  3. Make wellness a priority. 

    Companies often provide health and well-being benefits to employees to encourage exercise, healthy eating and leisure activities. But, do they talk about using these benefits to improve mental health as well? As an employer, it’s important to make wellness a priority and remind employees that building good, healthy habits can improve both physical and mental health.

  4. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid at Work. 

    Mental Health First Aid at Work training provides useful information and practical techniques on how to approach and support a colleague in distress to help your organization build a resilient and productive workforce. Reach out to our team via MHFAatWork@TheNationalCouncil.org for more information and #BeTheDifference in your workplace today.