How to Support Your Employees’ Mental Health

The past few months have been full of challenges. We don’t like to use the word ‘unprecedented’ – but let’s face it, companies around the world are figuring out new ways of doing business. Employees are figuring out how to work from home. People are being laid off. And on top of work stress, fun social events we look forward to every year are canceled. It is a tough time; there is no doubt about it.

We feel fortunate at Harbinger to have always been a work-from-home company. There wasn’t as much pivoting to do when the pandemic hit. But that doesn’t make us immune to the stresses of ever-changing news, health guidelines, rising numbers, and many unpredictable days.

Managers have been concerned with their employees’ physical health, but we wanted to talk about how to help employees with their mental health during this difficult time. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health issues can discourage people from speaking up and asking for help.

Helping manage mental health issues in the workplace makes good business sense as well. According to the American Psychiatric Foundation, American companies lose $44 billion each year in lost productivity due to depression.

Here are six ways you can check-in with employees and let them know you support them.

  1. Help Employees Reduce Stress — Your team is working hard during challenging times. Reward their mental health with something fun! It doesn’t have to be elaborate; a small gift card, a team online BINGO game in place of a meeting, or even a surprise afternoon off can do a lot to raise people’s spirits.
  2. Team Up with Professionals — At Harbinger, we offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for anyone who wishes to talk with a mental health professional. It is 100% free and confidential. If you have a program like this in place, it’s good to remind people of these resources.
  3. Keep An Eye Out For Depression — Train your management staff to learn how to recognize and intervene when an employee is depressed. For more information, contact Mental Health America or the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.
  4. Survey Your Staff — Ask your employees what causes them stress at work, and then take steps to address any issues.
  5. Watch People’s Workloads — Keep an eye on the workloads of your employees. Also, if you notice a change in people’s work habits, take into consideration that any employees who are also parents are likely juggling the additional task of homeschooling their kids. A little extra empathy can go a long way to show you have their back.
  6. Make Yourself Available — Employees need to have a safe place to vent about what is on their mind.

Making your employees’ mental health a priority makes sense for the well-being of your entire team. Mental health issues affect one in five people, so there’s a good chance that someone on your team is suffering. Help reduce the stigma by normalizing discussions about mental health issues.

September is Suicide Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is struggling, call 1-800-273-TALK to be connected with a mental health professional.

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