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How Employers Can Support Mental Health in the Workplace

Updated: May 12, 2022

The statistics are alarming. In any given year, one in every 5 adults in the US will suffer from a mental health disorder. However, only one in three individuals who need help will get it. Statistics show that females are more likely than males to experience mental health disorders. Approximately 25.8% of women experience mental illness, whereas 15.8% of men experience mental illness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression and anxiety alone cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. Alternatively, WHO also estimates that for every $1 spent on treating common mental health concerns, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.

Supporting the well-being of employees’ mental health is becoming increasingly more important - especially given the mental health crisis we have recently experienced as a result of the pandemic. As employers, we need to play a role in ending the stigma associated with mental health by demonstrating that we truly care about the entire health of our employees, which includes both their physical and mental health.

How can your business support mental health amongst your employees? Check out Reverie’s list of ways you can show that your employees’ mental well-being is a top priority.

  • Promote a healthy work life balance - encourage employees to use their PTO, get in the habit of truly “shutting off” each evening and on the weekends, taking a daily mandatory lunch break away from their desk, and providing your employees with flexibility in their work schedule. Managers and leaders must lead by example by adopting these practices, so next time you want to send an email at 7pm, wait until the next day.

  • Provide your employees with access to meditation apps or apps that can reduce stress and promote healthy sleeping habits, such as Headspace. Make it a habit of encouraging the usage of these apps - communicate about them in your weekly emails, team meetings, and newsletters.

  • Offer monthly yoga or meditation classes. Start a lunch walking club. Encourage participation and make it fun!

  • Schedule workshops on mental health topics or provide access to online programs and webinars.

  • Review your healthcare plan and confirm it offers mental health coverage.

  • Encourage your managers and leaders to speak openly about the importance of mental health.

  • Invest in training for your managers and leaders on how to become more aware of and compassionate in dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.

  • Establish an employee assistance program (EAP) to support workplace mental health. EAPs are programs designed to help employees resolve issues and combat stressful situations before they negatively impact their lives. New forms of EAPs not only include combating workplace issues, but also help employees deal with personal issues such as divorce, conflict resolution, recovery of substance abuse, and overcoming traumatic events. For more information on EAPs, check out this article.

  • Make your employees aware of mental health programs in your community and encourage them to use them.

  • Create opportunities for your employees to connect with, have fun with, and build healthy workplace relationships with their peers. Being surrounded by people who you can trust and can be vulnerable to helps combat feelings of isolation and loneliness and provides individuals with a support network.

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