How to Help an Employee Who is Struggling with Mental Health

Mental health is a critical aspect of overall health, yet it's often overlooked in the workplace. The lacking support for employees comes at a cost, as many employers have lost valuable team members due to mental health struggles. In a survey conducted by Harvard Business, 91% of respondents agreed with the importance of increasing mental health support in the workplace and a shocking 68% reported leaving a role due to poor mental health. Because of this, employers must now recognize that their employees' mental health is just as important, if not more so, than their physical health. As such, they need to take steps to support employees struggling with mental health.

Mental health problems, like depression and anxiety, can be challenging to deal with in any location, but especially at work. The need to remain professional even when struggling can be too much for some. This can affect employees' job performance, and if left unaddressed, can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, and even burnout. Because of this, it's vital for employers to provide the necessary support to help employees who are struggling with mental health. Below are some of the many ways to help employees who are dealing with mental health issues:

Create A Supportive Work Environment

A great place to start is by creating a work environment that is supportive and understanding. This type of work environment is crucial for employees who are struggling with mental health problems as well as those that aren’t. Employers should create a safe and supportive workplace that encourages employees to share their struggles and seek help whenever necessary. This can be done by offering employee assistance programs or counseling services, providing mental health training to managers and supervisors, and creating an open-door policy that allows employees to discuss their concerns with management. 

Encourage Open Communication

Only 26.2% of survey respondents felt that employees should be able to speak openly about mental health challenges, according to a study conducted by Eur Arch Neuroscience. This unsupportive thought process could ultimately prevent employers from being able to retain their top employees as they feel unable to speak freely or share their struggles.

If employers want to keep their staff, open and honest communication is going to have to be an essential practice. Employers should create an environment where their employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns without fear of judgment or stigma. This can be achieved by offering confidential channels for employees to share their concerns, providing mental health resources, and ensuring that managers and supervisors are approachable and supportive.

Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

Remote work or flexible hours can help employees feel more comfortable in their workplace environment. Knowing that they have alternative options available to them whenever necessary can provide a sense of peace for many. These arrangements allow employees to work in an environment that suits their needs and helps them manage their mental health. More organizations should consider offering flexible work arrangements to employees who need them and ensure that they are implemented fairly and consistently.

Provide Resources And Support

One of the more obvious methods employers can help their employees thrive is by providing them with resources and support to help them manage their mental health. This could include offering access to mental health services, such as counseling or therapy, as well as education and training on mental health issues. They can also offer resources like online tools and apps that can help employees manage their mental health, such as mindfulness apps or online therapy platforms.

Additionally, employers can offer financial support for any employees that need out-patient services, like substance abuse rehabilitation. These services can be costly and any employer-contributed benefits could make an immense difference in a person's ability to afford this vital care. 

Encourage Self-Care

Self-care can come in a wide range of forms and is important to prioritize for employees who are struggling with mental health problems. Employers should promote self-care practices, like exercise, meditation, and taking regular breaks, to help employees manage their mental health. Offering wellness programs or workshops that teach employees how to take care of their mental health is another excellent way to encourage adequate self-care. Even something as simple as including a wellness retreat once per year could increase employee morale and remind them that their mental and physical health are of value to their employer.

Be Flexible And Accommodating

Being flexible is a less common practice amongst many employers, as they feature rigid work schedules and tight deadlines. Unfortunately, this can cause undue stress and burden on their employees. As a result, they can effectively improve their workforce’s mental health by being more accommodating and flexible as a whole. This might include allowing employees to take time off work or providing them with alternative work arrangements. Organizations should also be willing to make reasonable accommodations for employees who need them, such as adjusting their workload or schedule during times of crisis.

Reduce Stigma

The stigma around mental health is a large barrier for many and prevents them from asking for help when needed. Reducing this stigma is crucial in helping employees who may be silently struggling. Companies should educate their workforce on mental health issues and promote a culture of acceptance and understanding so that their staff is comfortable speaking up. This can include offering mental health training to managers and supervisors, hosting mental health awareness events, and providing resources that help reduce stigma and promote mental health.

Monitor Progress

Keeping a close eye on employees' progress when they are struggling with mental health is important, especially for those that have shown signs of depression or suicidal ideation. Checking in with employees regularly, providing them with feedback on their performance, and offering additional support if needed are just a few ways employers can accomplish this. They can also take advantage of metrics that monitor absenteeism or performance metrics, to assess the impact of mental health issues on employees' work and make adjustments as necessary.

Helping employees who are struggling with mental health problems requires a proactive and supportive approach from employers. It's essential to recognize that mental health issues can affect anyone, and it's not a sign of weakness or a personal failing. Employers must make it clear that seeking help for mental health problems is encouraged and supported, and that employees will not be discriminated against for doing so. This can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage employees to seek help when they need it.

Last but not least, employers should recognize that mental health support is an ongoing process, and it's essential to continue to provide resources and support to employees, even after they have sought help. This can include providing ongoing mental health education and training, monitoring employee well-being, and regularly reviewing and adjusting mental health policies and support services. By prioritizing mental health and taking proactive steps to support employees, employers can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.

We Can Help!

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit our website to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any severe mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs

07 June, 2023

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