Making Mental Health a Priority Every Day
Every year, millions of people across the globe are faced with some element of mental illness. It affects individuals, families, communities and organizations, and it is estimated that workplace stress alone costs over $190 billion in North America. That number grows exponentially when you consider the global impacts.
It’s such an important topic and yet it’s very difficult to speak about. There is a stigma associated with mental illness that must be broken. We have to stand together to support one another not only when someone is dealing with mental illness, but when an individual begins to demonstrate signs of struggle.
Unfortunately, workplace burnout has become common for many. We’ve experienced a new way of work that has clear benefits, but we can’t overlook the health impacts of having our work and home lives essentially becoming one. As a leader of people, this is something top of mind for me and others alike. We spend a great deal of time with our people and need to be more aware of signs of burnout, workplace stress or other mental health challenges.
We have an obligation to equip our leaders to notice the signs and be prepared to engage in a conversation with those who may be suffering so they can direct them to the proper resources. With the talent landscape continuing to get hotter and more competitive, organizations who don’t make mental wellness a priority risk missing out on great talent and an increase in turnover. People want to work for an organization that values them and puts their well-being first.
So how can you get started?
- Make mental health a priority in your organization. Talk about it openly and frequently to begin removing the stigma.
- Provide proper education and training to enable your leaders and individuals to notice potential signs, facilitate conversations and guide people to resources available to them and their families.
- Offer wellness benefits specifically addressing mental health and ensure people know how to access and leverage them. Then, measure the utilization and make modifications as necessary to ensure their success.
- Provide programs that minimize the potential for burnout, such as unlimited PTO, company-wide shutdowns, flexible work schedules, Work from Anywhere programs and more.
- Ensure mental health is part of your ongoing wellness strategy. Don’t wait for a single day or month to make it a priority.
At SmartRecruiters, we prioritize well-being and offer benefits, programs and education that support our people and their families. We speak openly about burnout, workplace stress and mental health. We have created a culture of transparency and trust where people feel supported and encouraged to speak up and seek assistance when needed. It’s one of the many reasons I am proud to work for this organization.
Just remember, you don’t need to have all the answers, provide the “perfect” programs or be the experts on mental health. Demonstrating support, openness, compassion and a desire to listen is a great start. So don’t delay, now is the perfect time to take action. Your people will thank you and so will their families.
By Lisa Sterling
SmartRecruiters Chief People Officer
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