Some experts now believe that as many as 25% (1 in 4) of Americans will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lifetime. It is therefore becoming increasingly important that employers recognize the issues that affect individuals with mental health issues in the modern workplace, businesses are being increasingly judged on the level of support that they are able to offer to their employees. Not only does taking care of your employees make sense as an act of compassion, it also makes good business sense from a human resources management view; employees who are depressed or anxious won’t be able to perform as well at their job and receiving support from their employer will make them feel much more at ease.
Unfortunately, many businesses are still living in the past and haven’t yet adapted their attitudes and procedures to reflect our modern understanding of the issues and how to treat them. Adopting a new approach which takes in to account what we now know about mental health issues will bring your business in to the 21st century and will reduce your own stress, as well as that of your employees. Below are some guidelines to consider when formulating your business’s policy on mental health provisions.
Remove the Shame
Numerous studies have found that despite all the progress we are making in our understanding of mental health issues, there is still a great deal of social stigma and shame surrounding the subject and it is this more than anything else which deters people from speaking up about their issues. When employees are unhappy, it leads to increased downtime and lowered productivity. It is in the interests of both parties to take mental health issues seriously. Reducing the stigma and encouraging your staff to speak up when they are having problems will go a long way to making your whole business more friendly to mental health.
Educate Your Employees
One of the most effective ways of fostering a friendlier atmosphere for those with mental health issues is to ensure that both management and lower level employees understand the nature of mental health problems. You will retain more employees when they know how to appropriately deal with co-workers facing these issues. There are a number of ways you can go about doing this; there are training courses you can send your employees on.
If you have a human resources department in your business then consider how well equipped they are for assisting employees with mental health issues. If you feel that you could be doing more and have more resources in place then try and add a staff member to your human resources team who has experience in providing mental health assistance in the workplace. Another option is to invest in an online counseling degree for an existing staff member so that they can take the lead in helping your business formulate their mental health policy, an online masters in counseling can therefore be a great investment for your business.
Operating a business which is friendly towards those with mental health issues has numerous benefits. In some calculations, it could save businesses upwards of $225 Billion per year. Not only will it minimize the time you lose to employee downtime, it will also give your public image a boost. Most importantly, your fellow managers, employees and stakeholders will gain from it.
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