How to Reduce the Stigma Of Mental Health In the Workplace

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office mental health

Mental illnesses and mood disorders are incredibly common. Tens of millions of people in America alone suffer from them each year, but luckily there are more treatment options available than ever before.

For example, along with antidepressants and talk therapy, people who can’t use antidepressants for various reasons can turn to options such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. Under the Affordable Care Act mental health care became an essential covered service, and in society in general, there is less stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Despite all of the strides that have been made regarding mental health and available care and treatment, there’s one place that tends to be behind in offering support and reducing stigma, and that’s the workplace. Mental health is an important issue for employers because it impacts corporate culture, employee morale and productivity and the bottom line.

Employers need to focus on reducing the stigma as part of an effort to provide more support to employees, and below are some ways they can start doing that.

Integrate Mental Health And Wellness Programs

In the past decade or so, a lot of employers have emphasized employee health and wellness, and they can also integrate mental health into these programs. For example, employee programs will do things like incentivizing employees for participating in exercise classes. Employers can do something similar if employees participate in activities that promote mental wellness as well.

It’s not enough to simply offer employee mental health wellness programs. They need to be marketed to employees and promoted.

Educate Workplace Leaders

People can feel like they’re pushed into the shadows if they have something such as depression simply because their employers and co-workers don’t know about it, or how to talk about it.

It can go a long way to educate and inform leaders in the business, because the more people know, the less fear or negativity and stereotyping is likely to go on.

Business leaders can learn how to communicate respectfully but also openly and honestly about mental illnesses, and they can also be trained on how to recognize certain warning signs or symptoms to provide help and support for employees.

Offer Mental Health Screenings

Something a lot of employers are doing right now is offering free mental health screenings.

Employees have to feel like this is completely confidential for it to be effective, but it can be a great way for people to feel that their employer cares about their mental health, and also to help people realize if they may have an issue that needs to be addressed or treated.

Create Policies That Promote Mental Health Care

Finally, let’s say you have an employee with a chronic health condition and they have to go to doctor’s visits regularly. Of course you wouldn’t think twice about making sure they’re able to go, but with mental health care appointments, employers may be less flexible.

Show your employees you  put a priority on mental health by ensuring that employees feel comfortable talking about what they’re going through and that policies are friendly to their healthcare needs, as policies would be for any physical health issue.  

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