Letter From RALIANCE: Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

Image of man and woman sitting together and talking in the workplace.

Hello readers – Mental Health Awareness Month in May provides a unique opportunity to reflect and identify ways leaders and organizations can better support their employees’ wellbeing. Amid a significant rise in mental health challenges during the pandemic, it is crucial that we raise awareness and educate those around us, especially for the historically underrepresented workers whose mental health is adversely impacted at disproportionate rates.

Mental health disorders impact one in four Americans. This means there’s a high probability that employees in your workplace are struggling with their mental health – an issue that has real implications for workplace morale and productivity.

Poor mental health negatively affects all facets of an individual’s workplace experience – from job performance and satisfaction to turnover rate and capability. By addressing mental health needs in the workplace, employers can also reduce health care costs for their businesses and employees.

Here’s a list of steps organizations can take to create a better work environment for employees and their mental health:

•Identify your employees’ needs: Holding focus groups or conducting anonymous surveys can be useful way to understand your workforce’s needs – depending on the specific stressors in your community and workplace, you may need to consider different types of mental health support and interventions. 

•Invest in mental health resources: Once you’ve identified the appropriate interventions, investing in mental health resources can help keep your employees healthy and productive, and will also help you stay competitive when recruiting from a pool of candidates who increasingly expect mental health support.

•Provide education on mental health in the workplace: Raising awareness – through workplace panels or town halls, for example – is a critical step in decreasing the stigma around mental health. Letting employees know where and how they can seek support may increase the likelihood that they’ll come forward before reaching a crisis point.

In taking these steps, employers can help play a key role in efforts to change the culture around mental health and build a world in which everyone can live healthier lives. Check out the following resources if you or someone you know is facing mental health challenges: Mental Health AmericaNational Alliance on Mental IllnessMove to End ViolenceThe Womxn Project, and MeToo.

RALIANCE is a trusted adviser for organizations committed to building cultures that are safe, equitable, and respectful. RALIANCE offers unparalleled expertise in serving survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse which drives our mission to help organizations across sectors create inclusive environments for all. For more information, please visit www.RALIANCE.org.

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