The Importance of Investing in Mental Health
Before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly half of Gen Z and Millennial employees reported feeling stressed all or most of the time, according to a study by Deloitte. The participants named family welfare, long-term finances and job prospects as primary causes. While stress levels are reported to have fallen during the pandemic and younger generations are becoming more open about mental health, there are still stigmas around it in the workplace.
In one survey, only 44% of Millennials and 38% of Gen Zers who took time off work because of stress or anxiety admitted that was the reason to their employers. Women were significantly less likely than men to admit the cause of their absences. Millennials who were candid about their absences were three times as likely to say their organizations provided strong mental health support (52%) rather than little or no support (16%).
The physical and emotional burdens of mental health issues do more than cause people to miss work. They can also affect overall job performance and job loyalty, making this a critical issue for employers to focus on. As the pandemic and these concerns continue, employee mental health needs to be a priority for employers. All employers should understand the root causes of mental health challenges among employees and create or update programs based on their learnings. Here are a few tips for encouraging a culture that supports employees’ mental health:
- Create a safe space–Encourage an open environment where employees can be their whole selves and share their issues without discrimination or repercussions. Beyond asking how they’re handling their workload, ask employees if they’re okay. They may not open up right away but building a trusting relationship among team members will help employees feel safe speaking out if they need necessary help.
- Provide resources– It’s important to have proper resources in case an employee does need mental health support. These can include webinars for managing mental health, training sessions to spot signs early and access to therapists and affordable medications. Encourage employees to utilize their vacation days and take time away from the office. Make sure all your resources and benefits are easily accessible to all employees and are up to date in their content.
- Collaborate on workable solutions–Stress and anxiety can be worsened by adding concerns over work deadlines. Consider new ways to work that may ease their load, such as pushing back deadlines or allowing flexible work schedules. Set realistic expectations with your team and be as understanding as possible during these challenging times. Each employee is facing their own set of challenges during these times so it’s important to collaborate and make a plan that works for everyone.
If your organization is facing challenges identifying or managing mental health issues, fill out the form below: