Dr. Noah Minskoff on Promoting Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace
It may come as a surprise to many that three out of five employees in the workplace have never talked about their mental health concerns with co-workers. While mental health coverage has increased over the years, workers simply do not take advantage of their help. Unfortunately, mental health problems cause over 200 million workdays to be lost every year. Companies that can address this swiftly will find happier employees — employees less likely to miss out on work.
Growing Mental Health Concerns
When questioned, less than half of all workers felt that their mental health was prioritized in the workplace. Fewer workers saw their company superiors as advocates for mental health awareness. According to the CDC, mental health and the stress it causes negatively affect employees in various ways, such as productivity in the workplace, communication with co-workers, and how the individual engages with their workload.
So what does the workforce need in today’s mental health awareness age? The CDC has stated that mental health promotion programs have an excellent, successful track record, particularly when combined with physical and mental health interventions. They have discovered that the workplace is ideal for creating an atmosphere of good health, both psychological and physical, as there are already healthy communication structures in place.
Promoting Mental Health
There are multiple ways that employers can make the mental health of their employees a priority. By offering various incentives that reinforce healthy behaviors and social support networks for those who need them, employers can show their employees that their ongoing mental health is an essential factor to them.
Employers may offer the following when they wish to make mental health awareness a topic of discussion:
- Free or subsidized depression screenings from licensed mental health professionals
- Health self-assessment tools that will assist employees with their mental health status
- Low or no-cost health insurance that provides mental health counseling services and prescription medications for depression and anxiety
- Free or low-cost self-management programs or counseling sessions
- The creation of quiet spaces in the workplace for relaxation activities
- Workshops that address mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety, along with the tools needed to manage these symptoms
- The opportunity for workers to have a clearer say concerning the various workplace issues that cause the most stress
With better mental health policies in place in the workplace, employers can help employees enhance their productivity while decreasing stress levels. As health promotion programs continue to be a success, employers need to recognize the many benefits of these programs.