During the pandemic, 40% of adults surveyed reported new struggles with anxiety and depression. This does not include the large numbers of adults who struggled with mental health before the pandemic. Although the pandemic is waning, some of those difficulties are persisting, and there are also new challenges and trials. Navigating re-entry into non-pandemic times is a different kind of stress that can create more worry and depression for some.
Mental health isn’t something employees deal with solely on their own time. It’s also something they bring to work. Businesses have the responsibility to create a safe work environment, and that includes supporting the mental health of their employees.
The impact of employee mental health on work
The data is clear that this year has been challenging for the mental health of everyone. This includes your employees who arrive to work every day, whether remotely or to the office, carrying with them the weight of what they are experiencing in every part of life. The health of your employees impacts their productivity and the quality of their work, and the way you address employee mental health impacts your employees.
The good news is that, if you look at the data, employers who have supported and continue to support the mental health of their employees have a higher work output than those who do not. Their employees feel more supported overall, and that has a positive impact on company culture and all employees.
Building a culture of wellness
The ebbing pandemic provides an opportunity to pause and consider our culture going forward. Creating a culture of wellness is essential and should include both physical health and mental health. Businesses can do many things to support the mental health of their workers, both now and in the future.
Employee assistance programs are a great option for putting struggling employees in contact with the help they need. While you likely don’t qualify to be a counselor for your employees, you can certainly support them in finding and getting mental health services. Mental health services dovetail with the physical and nutritional aspects of health that are often offered by employers. Whether it’s a gym membership, nutrition resources, or counseling services, these types of services support your employees and break down the stigma around seeking help.
When providing an assistance program, be sure to communicate the availability to your staff and continually promote the program. Too often a program is announced when it is first offered and forgotten by the time employees need the service. By regularly promoting your full scope of wellness programs, they will be top of mind when needed.
If you need help creating an assistance program for your workers, reach out to our team at WhyHR for ideas and resources for mental health support.