By Masentle Mokiti
To commemorate mental health awareness month and advocate for employee well-being in the workplace we need to truly understand that not all injuries are physical. Physical injuries may be easier to treat because of their visibility and blindly disregard injuries that are mental and not perceptible to the naked eye. Also, the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses makes it harder for those suffering to speak freely about their challenges and seek help. For that reason, let’s ensure a healthy work environment that prioritizes employees' mental health issues.
Let’s have a look at HR guidelines for a conducive work environment:
● Firstly, there must be clear and concise mental health policies that help HR people deal with mental health problems effectively. For instance, offer flexible working hours, regular checkups on the staff and easy back to work if an employee was absent due to work-related illnesses. Also, support national awareness days/months as a way to demonstrate a genuine and sincere interest in improving mental health at work.
● Implement mental health and wellbeing programs like workshops and webinars to educate the staff about issues relating to stress, healthy eating plans, managing anxiety and depression and also encourage dialogue so that employees feel comfortable speaking up. These programs can
● create an environment where employees feel a sense of worth and belonging. This can be achieved by appreciating the effort and sacrifices made by employees. The culture of Saying “thank you” often is another positive practice to boost workplace morale,
● Support kind gestures of giving back and volunteering in the workplace. These selfless acts have been proven to improve one’s mental well-being by giving a sense of purpose and self-worth.
● Train managers accordingly to deal with mental health issues. Mental Health Aid is a good place to start because it teaches people ways to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health problem. Make adjustments for applicants with mental health problems at the beginning of the recruitment process. This will help potential employees not hide mental health illnesses for fear of discrimination.
Although HR teams must consider the needs of employees and shun by all means the stigma around mental health, it is also advised that employees take caution. One of the most important things is to avoid overworking themselves past their schedules. Experts recommend a predictable routine as it is easier on mental health.
There is no shame in talking about mental health challenges openly. Studies have shown that in every four employees one suffers from mental health illnesses and those who seek help in time turn to recover fully. Connect us for more HR guidelines to combat mental health problems.