For Managers: 5 Ways to Improve Employee Mental Health
by Katie DiMuzio
Employee mental health is influenced by work environment and culture. Developing a supportive environment and making sure your team members feel like they’re able to focus on their mental health can pay off through improved job performance. As a manager, lead by example! If you make your own mental health and self-care a priority, your employees will feel empowered to focus on their own needs, too.
Read on for ways to create a supportive culture around mental health among your colleagues!
1. Provide resources and information
Make sure your team members know about the resources available to them, including your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the mental health benefits available through their insurance plan, and how to connect with a therapist.
A few resources that may be helpful for your team members:
Find a therapist: Get matched with therapists for free on Zencare
Startup life: Self-care tips for startup life
Anxiety: Mindfulness exercises for anxiety
Motivation: Ways to recharge and reverse lack of motivation
2. Encourage employees to embrace a healthy work-life balance
Urge employees to stay active, eat healthy, attend therapy appointments when needed, and plan ahead for vacation to recharge.
Set the standard as a manager: let your team know when you’re taking vacation, leave work to go to your yoga class, and take lunch breaks. This is especially important in work environments where you have passionate, dedicated team members who may risk burnout!
3. Recognize mental health issues among your team members
Learn to recognize and address mental health issues in the workplace. Dedicate biweekly or monthly 30 minute check-in meetings with your team members in which you ask how they’re doing overall.
Deliberately creating this time will allow your team members to know they have an opportunity to raise difficult subjects like these with you.
4. Respond appropriately to team members who need support around their mental health
If a team member seem down, anxious, going through a tough time personally, or struggling with their mental health in general, offer to chat over coffee.
Knowing that they can come forward with concerns without fear of retribution can begin to break down some of the stigma employees may feel about mental health.
If your colleague is open to it, create a plan together, whether allowing them to take time off, dedicate time for therapy, or simply check in with you on how they’re doing in the proceeding weeks.
5. Raise awareness of mental health concerns
Creating an open environment for mental health means raising awareness upfront. Here are three ways you can bring up mental health concerns in a safe, non-confrontational manner:
Have a professional come in and give advice on stress reduction techniques in the workplace.
Hold mental health awareness days.
Provide resource information through emails and newsletters to employees (such as Zencare to help employees find the right therapist for them).
Katie DiMuzio, LCSW, is the Partnerships Manager at Zencare. Through her work as a licensed clinician, Katie discovered how hard it is for people to learn about and access high quality therapy. This brought her to Zencare, where she is leading partnerships in the community to ensure Zencare is reaching those who need it.