World Mental Health Day, which takes place on October 10, helps us reflect on the value of taking care of our mental health. In the workplace, this is especially important, as people may feel rushed, respond poorly to deadlines, or may not take enough time for themselves.
Indeed, mental health awareness has become a priority in the workplace. Nearly half of all employee’s report feeling stressed, burned out, or depressed from work pressures. As a result, employers are making changes to support better health mentally and create healthier work environments.
Moreover, 84% of HR professionals plan on making changes for the improved wellbeing of employees. This information comes from one Workplace Mental Health Strategies report. These changes include increased telemedicine programs, wellness plans, and mindfulness training.
Create an Employee Wellness Program
A wellness program encourages employees to make healthier lifestyle choices, whether it is directed toward diet, exercise, or mental health. In fact, research shows that an effective employee wellness program can reduce turnover, increase productivity, and even increase company profits.
A successful wellness program includes three main components.
- An employee assistance program provides confidential services to employees who have mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. The programs are also designed for employees with substance abuse issues. Any health conflict that affects an employee’s performance on the job is acknowledged and addressed.
- Health screenings are another important part of a successful employee wellness program. Employers can offer screenings for diet, exercise, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat.
- Health education and resources. Employers can provide mental health resources, such as information on how to deal with a divorce, child custody issues, or how to manage chronic pain.
Holding Mental Health Awareness Events
Many employers hold events during Mental Health Awareness Month in May to promote a better understanding of mental illnesses and how they affect employees in the workplace. You can hold a panel discussion, or invite mental health experts to lead workshops for employees.
Telemedicine and Screening Services
With an increasing number of employees being open about their mental health struggles, employers can offer telemedicine services for additional assistance. Telemedicine includes medical services delivered via technology.
Employers might offer telepsychiatry, teletherapy, and online therapy services. EAPs also provide mental health screenings. These screenings include mood, personality, and addiction assessments.
While not a replacement for psychotherapy, these screenings do help determine if an employee should be referred to a professional. Moreover, telemedicine and mental health screenings make it easier for employees to get the help they need, as they don’t have to miss work to go to a doctor’s office.
Encourage Employees to Take Breaks
In a high-pressured work environment, it’s easy for employees to feel like they don’t have enough time for breaks. But regular breaks can make employees feel more productive. Studies show that taking short breaks every 90 minutes increases productivity by up to 80 percent.
Install Light Therapy Rooms
Light therapy rooms are rooms designed to emit a special light, such as a blue light, to calm the brain. Studies reveal that the illuminated rooms can reduce anxiety and ameliorate mood disorders and depression.
Light boxes can also help employees stay calm and focused in high-stress environments and are a more affordable alternative.
Add Indoor Gardening Rooms or an Outdoor Gardening Space
Studies show that indoor employees receive only 10 percent of the sunlight that outdoor workers do. Employers can combat this problem by installing indoor gardening rooms, which allow employees to grow their own plants, such as herbs and vegetables, while receiving more sunlight.
Provide Fitness Equipment
Many people turn to food as a coping mechanism when they are feeling stressed. Employers can encourage employees to maintain healthy eating habits by providing fitness equipment, like indoor bikes or treadmills. When combined with healthy eating habits, the use of fitness equipment can help greatly reduce both stress and anxiety.
Mental health issues affect everyone, from employees to customers to the community. By being aware of these issues, everyone can improve the workplace atmosphere and receive the rewards that come from focusing on making the working environment more healthful and inviting.
Great Northern Helps Injured Workers Recover
Great Northern Therapy Associates has many therapists throughout several states who can meet via remotely (and in person, if preferred), to work with injured workers and develop an individualized plan to help them adjust and successfully return to work.
We have partnered with and provided mental health support to workers at some of the largest companies in the world. But, at our core, we are still “people taking care of people,” one person at a time. Contact us today by filling out a form (below), submitting a referral, or calling us at the number below.