According to the World Health Organization (“WHO”), approximately 264 million people,
globally, suffer from depression, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of
anxiety. A recent WHO-led study estimates depression and anxiety disorders cost the global
economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
A negative work environment may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of
substances or alcohol, absenteeism, and lost productivity. Here are the top 5 workplace strategies to maintain workplace wellbeing and support people with mental disorders. This support is more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase
productivity, and benefit from associated economic gains.
5 Strategies to maintain workplace wellbeing and mental health of employees.
Understand how Mental Health and Wellbeing Affects Employees
- Make mental health training mandatory for your company’s leaders to help them
be more aware of and invested in this aspect of their employees’ well-being. Train
managers on what to do if they see signs of emotional distress or substance
- Use mental health calculators to estimate the prevalence and associated costs of
untreated depression and alcohol and substance abuse at your workplace.
Be aware of the workplace environment and how it can be adapted to promote
better mental health for employees.
- Understand the opportunities and needs of individual employees, in helping to
develop better policies for workplace mental health.
- Provide free or subsidized lifestyle coaching, counseling, or self-management
- Distribute materials, such as brochures, fliers, and videos, to all employees about
the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and opportunities for treatment.
- Be aware of sources of support and where people can find help.
- Involve employees in decision-making.
Include Mental Health Insurance Coverage
- Learn about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This Act requires
- insurance coverage for mental health conditions (including substance use
- disorders) to be no more restrictive than insurance coverage for other medical
- Provide a health savings account (HSA) to help offset out-of-pocket costs.
- If possible, consider offering coverage with no, or low, out-of-pocket costs for
- depression medications and mental health counseling.
Establish an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Many companies use an EAP to support workplace mental health. Some employees may be reluctant to use this
resource due to fear of stigma, shame, and/or lack of understanding about how these
confidential programs work.
- To encourage employees to use an EAP, your company can:
- Provide direct access to mental health professionals via phone and/or in-person.
- Offer this resource to employees as well as to their immediate family members.
- Make it easy for employees to know who to talk to or where to go to access mental health resources.
- Emphasize your EAP can be accessed confidentially and free of charge.
Communication is Key to Reduce Stigma and Increase Use of Resources
- Don’t wait until open enrollment to mention mental health benefits and community
resources. Promote them frequently, such as in breakrooms, fliers, emails, and/or
- Ensure management discusses wellbeing during recruitment.
- Offer workshops so employees can learn more about mental health and
Promote Over All Wellbeing
- Build as much flexibility as possible into all employees’ schedules.
- Offer access to apps that can help with sleep and stress reduction.
- Consider offering a quiet, relaxation room, meditation room, mindfulness training,
and/or yoga classes at work, if practical.
- Encourage employees to use their vacation time
- Let employees know they can use their sick time for a “mental health” day.
- Provide accommodations and develop a return-to-work process so employees who need to take a leave of absence because of a mental health issue feel supported when they come back.
- Create opportunities for employees to build connections with each other, such as through social events and electronic message boards.
- Offer free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression from a qualified mental health professional, followed by feedback and medical referrals, when appropriate.
- Make mental health self-assessment tools available to all employees.
- Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions about issues affecting job stress.
- Offer programs for career development of employees.
- Recognize and reward the contribution of employees.
For more information, questions, or additional guidance, Contact the HR Professionals at Innovative.