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Wendy Matton

 Tags: Mental Health

Mental wellness encompasses the mental and emotional state in which people can cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. Mental health issues include conditions like anxiety, depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

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The health and wellbeing of your employees should be a high priority. By prioritizing employee mental wellness, you can successfully create a positive working environment where employees can excel. One in four people will experience a mental health issue in any given year. It’s critical to help support these employees and encourage them to disclose their challenges and seek treatment and support.

By embedding health and wellbeing within your company culture, processes, and structures, you can successfully support and encourage employee mental wellness in your workplace.

Take these steps to approach mental health in the workplace and successfully promote a psychologically healthy workforce.

Eliminate Workplace Triggers for Mental Health

The workplace can have a significant impact on mental health. Managers should be alert to workplace triggers for mental health and causes of workplace stress, and attempt to eliminate and reduce them in order to create a more psychologically healthy workplace.

Some triggers include long hours and no breaks, unrealistic expectations, high pressure, poor working environment, unmanageable workloads, lack of control over work being done, poor communication, negative working relationships, job insecurity, lack of recognition and reward, poor leadership, and harassment.

By eliminating or reducing workplace triggers, you may be able to prevent mental health issues from occurring.

Eliminate the Stigma

Though mental health problems are quite common, there is still a stigma surrounding them. To support and encourage employee mental wellness, you must quash this stigma in your workplace. This will help your employees feel safe, comfortable, and supported when disclosing their mental health issues and requesting help.

To quash the stigma, your efforts must be company-wide and embedded in your culture. Create communication campaigns to enhance awareness and education. Create and promote support programs. Implement mental health workshops to help employees open up in a safe environment.

Promote Physical Activity

Physical activity has been linked to positive mental health. There are many ways to support employee mental wellness through physical activity. You can offer a corporate discount to gyms and fitness centres nearby or create an on-site fitness centre of your own. You can hire a yoga instructor to come in at lunch time to teach a class. You can encourage group participation in fun runs and charity marathons.

There are many low-cost and effective solutions to consider. Promoting physical activity in the workplace can not only help you reduce health risks among your employee population, but improve mental wellness as well.

Enlist Community Resources

Look to your community resources for help with your mental wellness plan. You can invite mental health professionals to offer mental health screenings, to teach stress management workshops, or to start a support group. You can gather information brochures from local mental health providers in your community to educate your employees and as a means to offer support to seek treatment.

Implement an EAP

Employees struggling with work problems or home-life issues can often be helped by having someone qualified to talk to. An employee assistance program is a company-sponsored program delivered to employees to help them deal with their personal and work issues. It includes direct and confidential access to counselling services as well as resources and tools to help them better manage their challenges, 24/7. 

Return to Work

Employees dealing with stress or other mental health issues often take leaves of absence. For employees returning from time off for mental health problems, there should be a return-to-work program that will enable them to re-enter the workplace in a timely, safe, and appropriate manner.

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Wendy Matton

Wendy has nearly 40 years of experience in the financial services sector. She began in banking and moved on to Bay St. trading in fixed income, currency and commodities, to management. The next phase was spent in sales and advisory roles as an independent financial and insurance advisor. She has spent the last 15 years as a consultant in the employee benefits industry. Wendy enjoys going on gal-pal road trips with her daughter visiting theatres and B&Bs across Ontario. When not hosting a “Scuff ‘n’ Scoff” with her hubby and musical friends, her most treasured moments are outdoors, back in the hills of Newfoundland on a ski-doo or on a pristine lake with her dad, in a canoe.
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