How to Encourage Mental Health Discussion in the Workplace

Mental health is an important factor in employee performance. When unwell, your staff’s attendance and work quality are compromised, leading to poor performance

Your employees are your company’s most valuable asset. Therefore, it’s very important to think about their general well-being to help them reach their full potential at work. 

With everything that’s going on—the pandemic, global warming, and personal issues—your employee’s mental health also suffers. All of these affect their overall work performance, from attendance to work quality and productivity. 

Given this, we must strive to create a physically and psychologically safe work environment. That way, we can support employees to become the best version of themselves. But where do we start? You may ask. Well, you can start by encouraging open communication, especially about mental health.

Why Talking About Mental Health Is Important

Mental health is an essential factor in employee performance. When unwell, your staff’s attendance, productivity, and work quality are compromised. This is because when you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your work, you become unmotivated to perform well. And when you come to a point where everything about work eats you all up, you experience burnout. 

Given all this, it’s crucial for organizations to encourage open communication in the workplace, especially when it comes to mental health. By doing so, you create a safe and supportive environment for them. Furthermore, you can be able to address mental health risk factors in the workplace properly, which can help reduce employee burnout, improve their performance, and increase their satisfaction. 

Ways To Encourage Mental Health Discussions At Work

There are several practices that you can follow to foster open communication about mental health. Below are a few of them:

Create a Non-Judgmental and Supportive Environment 

Let’s face it. Mental health is a topic most people don’t want to talk about because of the stigma around it. But if you create a safe environment for people to share their experiences without judgment, they’re more likely to be comfortable talking about them.

But how will you do that? You may ask. 

Well, it always starts with keeping an open mind and learning effective workplace communication hacks. Don’t ever make assumptions and stereotypes about various mental health conditions because these can have a lasting impact on your employees. Aside from getting discouraged opening up, this may also result in a turnover.

Normalize Mental Health Conversations 

Part of creating a non-judgmental environment is being open about sensitive but relevant topics like mental health. Normalizing conversations about mental health will help us break the stigma and reach the goal of open communication. 

Below are a few strategies that you can follow to initiate this step:

  • Leading by example. The best way to go this way is by opening up about your own mental health. As you know, it’s always “business as usual” at work. But when you start showing vulnerability by initiating the conversation, you’re also encouraging your staff to do the same. Being vulnerable humanizes you. Thus, it makes it easier to show your team that you relate to them and that it’s okay to talk about mental health and seek help.
  • Daily Check-Ins. Checking in with them regularly also helps in this initiative as it builds rapport. It can be as simple as answering a simple survey of how they’re feeling today. 
  • Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Days. As you know, May is mental health awareness month. Hence, use this time to provide support, understanding, compassion, and opportunity for healing. Come up with activities that could help start mental health conversations.

Offer Mental Health Awareness Programs 

Another way to promote open communication about mental health is through mental health awareness programs. Such programs can help employees recognize mental health issues in themselves and learn how to manage them. 

Also, by having these training programs, you give them a platform to have open conversations about mental health. This can help empower them to share their personal thoughts and experiences they’re afraid to let out. 

Make Resources and Support Accessible

Having access to mental health resources, such as employee assistance programs, counselling services, or support groups, is also another way to encourage mental health communication in the workplace. By making sure these services are available, you give people who’ve always wanted to seek help but didn’t know where to a chance to receive the care they need while also encouraging others to ask for support. 

Ensure Confidentiality

Above everything else, it’s very crucial to ensure the confidentiality of the employees sharing their mental health concerns. Reaching out is already a big leap for them. It’s only fitting to make them feel they made the right decision. 

Ensuring confidentiality creates a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health without fear of judgment or discrimination. And it gives them a sense of security, which allows them to be more open about their personal stories. When private conversations remain confidential, you may encourage others to speak up.

The Bottom Line

Having conversations about mental health in the workplace is essential to foster a healthy work environment. Hence, following our best practices can help you establish a culture of acceptance and understanding that encourages workers to succeed on both a personal and professional level.

About the author

Sophia Young recently quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words. She can also easily churn out a high-quality thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends and finance-related topics. She can probably even whip up an excellent heart-warming article about family life. Sophia also loves talking about fashion, weddings and travel.

Jobberman Staff Writer
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