Mental Health Should Be Part of Your Conversation with Employees:
The holiday season can be mentally challenging for everyone, including your employees. This time of year there are often spikes in depression and anxiety. Addressing mental health and ways to handle holiday stress in the workplace may have benefits for the company but the most important benefits are to the employees. As you look to grow and improve your organization mental health should be part of the conversation.
Don’t be afraid to open up
It can be daunting for an employee to open up and discuss mental health issues or personal concerns. As a leader you can signal that the topic isn’t taboo by opening up yourself about past experiences. A recent study by Accenture 14% of respondents had heard a senior leader talking about the importance of mental health and only 10% had heard a senior leader talk about being personally affected. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness as a leader – quite the opposite is true. Showing who you are as a person helps employees connect with you and shows your strengths.
Create a culture of positive emotion
Positive emotions influence the perception of the work environment and employees attitude about the company and their position. Creating a culture of recognition and positive emotion doesn’t have to cost you a single penny. Verbal recognition and expressing heartfelt gratitude for a job well done creates a positive emotional response, just think about how you feel when you receive a compliment.
Raise awareness through training
If you don’t know what your next steps should be as an organization to address mental health a training program is a good first step. Several different programs exist that can provide skills around recognizing signs of stress or mental illness personally and in other employees. Most training programs also cover how to handle conversations or scenarios around mental health challenges.
Proactively share available resources
If your organization has programs that support mental health share it with your employees several times throughout the year and remind employees of the resources available to them during the holiday season. If your organization doesn’t provide mental health services do some research and find free or low-cost resources and compile a list for your employees. Don’t rely on your employees having to find those items during their time of need. A good place to start your search is the National Institute of Mental Health, this page contains several links to other valuable resources as well.