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Happy World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that "twelve billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone. Furthermore, people living with severe mental health conditions are largely excluded from work despite this being important for recovery. Mental health conditions can also impact families, carers, colleagues, communities, and society at large. Depression and anxiety cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year predominantly from reduced productivity. "

But WHO also found that "for every $1 spent on treating common mental health concerns, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity."

Here are steps you can take to promote well-being at work:

1. Recognizing & training for mental health impacts

People need to be able to be their authentic selves; by providing a safe environment, they will lead a more fulfilling life and be more productive. With that said, it's important for managers to be trained to recognize the signs of emotional distress so they can react in a supportive manner. Train managers on recognizing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other prevalent mental illnesses and how to intervene appropriately. Make mental health education required for company executives to increase their awareness of and commitment to this area.

2. Provide EAPs

Employee assistance programs, or EAPs, are employee benefits plans created to assist employees in resolving problems that can negatively affect their lives. While EAPs are helpful, and companies that offer them experience significantly less absenteeism and workplace distress, they are incredibly underutilized.

Your company can encourage employees to use an EAP by doing the following:

  • Provide in-person, virtual, or over-the-phone mental health professionals

  • Offer EAP to immediate family members

  • Make it simple to know whom to contact or where to go for mental health support.

  • Emphasize that your EAP can be accessed confidentially and free of charge.


3. Include mental health coverage as part of the health care plan

Check to see if your health insurance provides enough coverage for mental health treatment. Avoid policies that provide fictitious coverage for mental health. Make sure to check the number of in-network psychologists and psychiatrists. Consider including coverage for standard and alternative treatments, like massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. There are numerous services that promote both physical and emotional wellness.

  • Provide a health savings account (HSA) to help offset out-of-pocket costs.

4. Have open lines of communication

Be open to conversations regarding well-being and mental health. Regularly promote mental health resources year-round instead of only during open enrollment.

5. Other ways to promote mental health and well-being

  • Encourage walking meetings

  • Encourage employees to take time off

  • Allow flexible schedules

  • Offer a meditation room

  • Offer yoga classes

  • Offer mental health workshops

  • Make it possible for employees to interact with one another through social gatherings, affinity groups, and online message boards.

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