Every May, individuals and organizations across North America band together to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and well-being.
The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is not only to spread awareness about mental health topics, but to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health and equip individuals with potentially life-saving tools and resources. At TEAM Group, we believe every employee plays a key role in making our organization a healthy and safe workplace. This starts from the top, with good leadership that creates an environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help and using the resources we provide.
Prioritizing mental health is crucial for fostering a positive and productive environment.
What is mental illness?
In order to understand how to support employee mental health, we need to first understand mental illness and how it intersects with the workplace. Mental illness refers to a range of conditions that affect a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and overall mental well-being. It encompasses a broad spectrum of disorders that can impact an individual’s daily functioning. Mental illness can include any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder such as:
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorders
Common signs and symptoms of stress or mental illness
Stress and mental illnesses can manifest in various ways, and the specific signs and symptoms can vary depending on the individual and the specific condition. However, here are some common signs and symptoms associated with stress and mental illness:
- Difficulties with sleep
- Low energy and motivation
- Feelings of sadness, nervousness and/or irritability
- Difficulties with concentration
- Frequent mood changes
- Changes in behaviour
- Physical symptoms such as headaches and/or digestive issues
It’s important to note that experiencing some of these signs and symptoms does not necessarily indicate a mental illness. However, if you or someone you know is consistently experiencing distress or these symptoms significantly interfere with daily functioning, we encourage you to seek professional help.
The Health and Wellness Educators (HAWES) at Roger Williams University have identified five key dimensions of personal health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. To achieve overall well-being, it is crucial that none of these aspects are disregarded or neglected.
The Role of Leadership
Emotional support and resources in the workplace play a crucial role in promoting employee mental health and overall well-being. Leadership can play a crucial role in creating an emotionally supportive workplace by promoting open communication, fostering work-life balance, leading by example, implementing regular check-ins and training leaders and managers. Creating an emotionally supportive workplace requires a comprehensive approach that involves leadership commitment, policies, resources, and a culture that values mental health. By prioritizing employee well-being, organizations can create a positive work environment that promotes mental health, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
How to Prioritize Mental Health at Work
- Raise Awareness: Educate employees about mental health, its impact, and available resources. Conduct workshops or training sessions to promote mental health literacy and reduce stigma.
- Foster a Positive Work Environment: Encourage open communication, respect, and empathy among colleagues. Create spaces where individuals can discuss challenges, share experiences, and provide emotional support to one another.
- Encourage Work-Life Balance: Promote healthy work-life integration by setting clear boundaries, encouraging breaks, and avoiding excessive workloads. Support flexible working arrangements and encourage employees to prioritize self-care.
- Provide Resources and Support: Offer mental health resources and programs, such as counseling services, mental health toolkits, or access to mental health professionals. Ensure that employees are aware of these resources and can easily access them.
- Lead by Example: Managers and leaders play a crucial role in promoting mental health. Encourage open dialogues, demonstrate empathy, and prioritize self-care. By modeling healthy behaviors, leaders inspire their teams to do the same.
- Train Leaders and Managers: Provide training to leaders and managers on mental health awareness, recognizing signs of distress, and how to support employees. Equip them with the skills to have empathetic conversations and refer employees to appropriate resources.
Benefits of Employee Mental Health on Organizations
Promoting employee mental health benefits both the individuals and the organization as a whole. It creates a supportive and thriving workplace that enhances productivity, engagement, and overall organizational success.
Some key advantages include:
- Increased productivity: Prioritizing mental health leads to improved focus, concentration, and problem-solving abilities. Employees are more likely to be engaged and productive when their mental health needs are addressed.
- Improved employee engagement: Organizations that prioritize employee mental health create a positive work environment. When employees feel supported, valued, and cared for, their engagement and morale increase. They are more likely to be committed to their work, demonstrate loyalty, and go the extra mile for the organization.
- Reduced absenteeism and turnover: Employees experiencing mental health challenges may take more sick days or consider leaving their jobs. By investing in mental health support, organizations can reduce absenteeism and turnover rates.
- Enhanced team: A supportive and emotionally healthy workplace fosters stronger relationships among team members. Collaboration, communication, and teamwork improve, leading to a more positive and cohesive work environment.
- Improved organizational reputation: Companies that prioritize employee mental health demonstrate their commitment to well-being, attracting top talent and earning a positive reputation. This can enhance recruitment efforts and strengthen relationships with clients and stakeholders.
What is TEAM Group doing about it?
Corporate diversity and inclusion efforts ensure a focus on inclusivity and accessibility to people with disabilities and other challenges. TEAM’s Diversity and Inclusion policy ensures that we celebrate our employees’ differences and support any challenges they may experience in the workplace.
Leadership plays a crucial role in addressing employee mental health at TEAM. Through the appointment of Mental Health Champions at various locations, they spearhead efforts to raise awareness and ensure the availability of essential resources for employee well-being.
Zero-tolerance commitment to harassment and violence. TEAM’s Code of Conduct is continuously evolving to help identify, discourage, and prevent behaviour that leads to violence in the workplace. Our workplace violence taskforce (HR, H&S, IT) is equipped to support and keep employees safe on the job.
Various mental health resources are available to TEAM’s employees. These resources encompass comprehensive insurance coverage as well as access to Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP). With EFAP, employees and their families can access professional counseling services, support networks, and valuable tools to manage their mental well-being effectively.
During Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond, it is crucial to prioritize mental health in the workplace. By promoting emotional support, providing resources, and fostering a culture that values well-being, organizations can create a positive environment where employees thrive. The benefits of prioritizing mental health extend to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, stronger team dynamics, and an enhanced organizational reputation. Let us work together to build mentally healthy workplaces that support the well-being of every employee.
Remember, mental health matters every month of the year.