Time to support mental health

  • Studies show that every year, up to 200 million workdays are lost to mental health challenges. (Source)
  • Around 1 in 6 people (14.7%) experience mental health problems in the workplace. (Source)
  • 1 in 3 employees still feel that mental health support in their workplace is inadequate and would like more support from their employers. (Source)

According to Mental Health First Aid: Despite the numbers, fewer than 10% of employees feel like their workplace is free of stigmas surrounding mental health — a perception that can discourage them from asking for help.

  • Create wellbeing programs that focus on mental and physical strength. This can mean offering wellness experiences like gym memberships, meditation or yoga classes, virtual fitness apps, spa services or telemedicine apps.
  • Offer continuing education courses to develop professional skills, no strings attached. For example, if your employee is a graphic designer, offer to pay for an advanced Photoshop class. This tells employees you care about their professional growth without requiring anything in return.
  • Provide wellness stipends and paid time off to help employees prioritize tending to their mental wellbeing. Wellness stipends are taxable benefits paid to employees to help cover wellness expenses, such as copays at the doctor or massages.
  • Train yourself and your colleagues in mindful and empathetic leadership. Practicing these skills in your own interactions creates a ripple effect that benefits the entire organization.
  • Survey your employees for feedback on how your organization can meet their mental health needs. Benefits such as mental health vacation days can go a long way toward supporting employee mental wellbeing.

Holistic well-being gains value

According to Virgin Pulse’s Global Workforce Wellbeing survey, more businesses than ever recognise the importance of looking after employees’ wellbeing.

The survey found that mental health (38%) is one of the biggest challenges impacting organizations today. This is hardly a surprise given the issues affecting nearly all geographies and demographics over the past few years. When asked about their top priorities for their health and wellbeing program, more than half of organizations surveyed (56%) felt that providing support for mental health concerns was the most important issue to address, followed by stress management (49%) and providing Health Risk Assessments (41%).

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