Psychologists believe ‘uncertainty breeds anxiety,’ and aren’t we living in uncertain times today? With the persistent outspread of Covid-19 coupled with economic fallout and business closures, we don’t know what would happen next. These circumstances have taken a toll on our mental health. People living alone for months have started feeling depressed and anxious. Similarly, financial instability is increasing stress levels, giving birth to multiple mental health issues.
Now, the question is how to combat mental health issues? Even though the government has launched various mental health programs, it is time for the business community to step in and spread awareness. After all, employers are likely to see workers struggle with anxiety, trauma, PTSD, etc. Therefore, leaders must take initiatives to support mental health in society. Perhaps, they can create mental health support groups or provide counseling sessions.
At the same time, they can promote work-life balance to spend time with family and friends. If you wish to learn more about this, keep reading. Here we are highlighting six ways how the business community can support mental health in society.
1. Spread Awareness about Mental Health
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of stigmas around mental health. Some people blame mental health issues on the lack of spiritual connection, while others disregard them altogether. As the business community has massive influence, they can try to spread awareness about mental health issues. On a small scale, they can offer workshops to make employees learn about mental health and resilience.
Moreover, the business leaders can collaborate with local community centers to support mental health in society. First, lookup community mental health center definition to understand their mission and deliverables. Having the same set of values will allow you to promote mental wellness in a better way. Similarly, businesses can encourage community resources such as monthly newsletters, email subscriptions, etc. In turn, employees and their families will receive mental health-specific magazines and newsletters promoting mental wellness.
2. Establish Employee Assistance Programs
Believe it or not, workplace mental health is the first step to promoting mental wellbeing in society. For that, companies have to use employee assistance programs (EAP). It would allow employees to access mental health professionals via phone, email, or in-person. They have to book an appointment online and consult the professional at a given time. The purpose of this program is to make it easy for employees to access mental health resources.
However, some workers might be reluctant to use this resource. Perhaps, due to the fear of stigma, shame, or lack of understanding of these programs. Therefore, it is your core responsibility to make such programs confidential and accessible. You can create an online app where employees can connect with mental health professionals. Besides this, offer this resource to employees’ immediate family members to increase EAP usage.
3. Promote Work-Life Balance Habits
At times, the work piles up to the extent where home doubles as the office. In such situations, people have a tough time switching off. Not only do employees feel distressed, but the family members also start getting frustrated. Before these turn into mental health problems, organizations have to make an effort to help employees unplug. For instance, you can encourage employees to book social hours with team members at the end of the day.
Likewise, create a culture where everyone goes home on time to maintain a work-life balance. Married individuals will utilize that time playing with children, improving emotional wellbeing. Likewise, people with no family commitments can socialize with friends, reducing the likelihood of depression. In addition, having a work-life balance will allow people to focus on their personal goals and obligations, increasing self-satisfaction.
4. Provide Counseling & Coaching Sessions
Truthfully, every one in five adults experiences some form of mental illness in the United States of America. However, only one in three get help. As part of a mental health initiative, business communities can provide counseling and coaching sessions to employees and families. You can collaborate with leading therapists and psychologists to conduct information sessions. In addition, allow people to have one-on-one sessions to discuss their problems openly.
Starbucks has already hopped onto this initiative. It gives thousands of employees access to 20 free of cost counseling sessions with a mental health coach. It will allow people to open up about how they feel and overcome mental health challenges. Similarly, such initiatives will encourage people to seek help from an expert rather than suffer on their own.
5. Engage in CSR Activities
Often, mental health problems stem from financial issues. Some people don’t have enough money to survive, whereas others are drowning in debt. These circumstances build up stress and make people feel anxious all the time. Through corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, businesses can support mental health. They can help homeless people by donating a small percentage of their profits or supporting skill classes. After all, homeless individuals are more likely to experience mental health problems.
Similarly, organizations can throw small parties to help people combat isolation. Furthermore, businesses can align these activities with their business model. If you own an educational institute, you can conduct weekly classes for underprivileged communities.
6. Modify Policies & Procedures
Sometimes, the uptight organizational policies and procedures fuel mental health issues. In addition to job security, people feel discouraged, unproductive, and stressed. Therefore, businesses have to become generous and flexible with their policies and practices. You have to look at the rules around working hours, paid time off, and sick leaves. Likewise, reframe performance appraisals as opportunities for compassionate feedback and learning.
The flexibility given to employees at work directly impacts society. First, they can spend more time with their family, look after household chores, and actively participate in their child’s upbringing. Secondly, sick leaves and paid time off will ensure workers don’t stress about finances when suffering from a health crisis. Besides building a happy workforce, these modifications can reduce mental health problems in society.
In the past years, the business community has overgrown, and with more power comes responsibility. Therefore, organizations have started taking initiatives to support mental health in society. They are spreading awareness about mental health issues, providing coaching sessions, and promoting work-life balance. Similarly, businesses engage in CSR to help people lead a happy and prosperous life, free from stress and tension.