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Mental health in the workplace

Mental health issues have become a topic of conversation more now than they were 20 or even 10 years ago. However, organizations can still improve on the resources they provide to staff, volunteers and members. Church Mutual has compiled a list of steps you can take to care for your people’s mental health:

  1. Provide mental health self-assessment tools to all employees and volunteers. People who are struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues may not realize how much they need help. Self-assessments, such as this one from Mental Health America, can help them evaluate their condition and decide whether they need to seek treatment.
  2. Offer free or subsidized counseling or lifestyle coaching. Often, this can take the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides resources including therapy, substance abuse treatment and financial advice.
  3. Host workshops that educate employees and volunteers about depression and teach stress management techniques. These techniques include mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation. Not only will these seminars help people with their mental health, but they can also boost overall workplace performance.
  4. Train managers on the signs and symptoms of depression and stress in the workplace. Managers should feel comfortable approaching employees or volunteers about mental health issues, and they should know how their people can use EAP and other resources. They should also be trained on how to spot workplace bullying and harassment.
  5. Create an organizational culture that embraces mental health and encourages people to address issues. Mental health has less of a stigma than it did decades ago. But everyone in your organization who suffers from mental health issues should know they are not alone. Create awareness by publishing articles in your newsletter, posting flyers and reaching out to individuals.
  6. Encourage managers to model healthy behaviors. Employees and volunteers are more likely to be open about their challenges when they see their managers using mental health resources. Managers should consider sharing when they are taking a walk in the middle of the day for a mindfulness moment or attending a therapy appointment.
  7. Offer flexibility. Be understanding when your people are unable to follow through with commitments because of mental health issues.
  8. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Mental health issues of your employees may be protected under the ADA. Make sure the consult with counsel before taking any adverse employment actions related to mental health.

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