June 19, 2024

Serene Nest

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An Employer’s Guide To Mental Health Awareness In The Workplace

4 min read

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and creates the opportunity for organizations to bring mental, emotional and physical wellbeing to the forefront. It facilitates in helping to reduce any stigmas surrounding behavioral health issues and highlight how mental illness can impact the workplace, society, families and others.

Stress And Anxiety In The Workplace

The stresses and pressure at the office or working remotely can be a cause of the deterioration of employees’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. The Society of Human Resource Management found that one in three Americans say their mental health is negatively impacted by their jobs. About 30% of the 1,000 workers surveyed in the SHRM study self-reported feeling overwhelmed, and 29% said their jobs make them feel anxious at least once a week.

Some of the reasons for mental health issues and burnout can be due to unreasonable deadlines, a heavy workload, long hours, a toxic environment and a lack of appreciation, recognition, psychological safety and financial security.

Anxiety has surged in recent years, becoming the top mental health issue affecting American workers. Mental health provider ComPsych found that nearly a quarter of people (24%) who reached out for mental health assistance last year did so to help cope with anxiety—topping depression, stress, relationship issues, family issues, addiction and grief.

“It’s clear that as a society, we’ve become more anxious in recent years, and for good reason,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, founder, CEO and chairman of ComPsych, in a statement. “From the pandemic to ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, civil unrest, an unpredictable economy and increasingly polarized political rhetoric surrounding elections, there is a persistent underlying feeling of apprehension and worry.”

“For business leaders, there is an imperative to help employees cope with these feelings. Companies who invest in resources for employees ultimately benefit by attracting and retaining a healthier and more productive workforce, allowing both employees and companies to thrive,” he added.

What Managers Should Do Now

Managers should encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and promote taking advantage of vacation days and paid time off. They can provide flexible schedules or hybrid and remote work options to help employees manage stress and prioritize self-care.

Supervisors should be cognizant of the workloads and deadlines assigned to their employees. Managers should be trained to recognize signs of mental distress and how to respond appropriately. Human resources can disseminate micro-surveys to regularly gauge how workers are feeling. Armed with the anonymous data, they can take appropriate actions to remedy situations.

With a growing need for accessible mental healthcare, employers should emphasize mental health benefits, employee assistance programs, available counseling services offered through the company’s health plans and provide information on how employees can access these resources confidentially.

Organizations can invite mental health professionals and therapists to hold training sessions, and corporate leadership should encourage open discussions about mental health to normalize the conversation.

Moreover, employers can partner with corporate wellness providers to help foster overall health and a more engaged workforce.

WellHub

Wellhub, formerly known as Gympass, is a comprehensive corporate wellbeing solution connecting millions of employees to a diverse network of partners for not only fitness but also, mindfulness, therapy, nutrition and sleep.

“The rebrand from Gympass to Wellhub is a natural evolution that reflects our commitment to providing a holistic wellbeing solution more than anything else,” said Wellhub founder and CEO Cesar Carvalho in a Zoom interview.

“Today, Wellhub is helping to solve the wellbeing crisis that is plaguing the global workforce,” Carvalho added, by providing a “turnkey solution that unlocks a variety of quality wellness services all in one place.”

It is a business-to-business platform, which means that companies will pay for the app, which enables their workers to gain access to a wide array of worldwide wellness programs, including gyms, studios, Yoga and online videos that workers can attend together. Member companies can help their team explore over 600 activities across the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Employees have over 50,000 studios globally, and more than 70 different wellness apps to choose from that will help improve their overall mental, physical and emotional health.

According to Wellhub’s site, it has helped its corporate clients boost employee physical activity by 178%, reduce annual employee healthcare costs by 25% and improve worker retention by 43%.

The unicorn startup was founded in 2012 in Brazil and has grown to 2.7 million subscribers across 15,000 corporate clients in 11 countries.

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