Anyone who has owned an automobile knows that preventative maintenance is enormously important. Owners regularly change their oil and check their tire pressure. They do this not because the car is spewing smoky clouds and weaving all over the road, but rather to prevent those actions from ever occurring.
In a sense, comprehensive mental health is a bit like preventative maintenance for you and your coworkers. By working in a healthy, supportive environment, you can prevent or mitigate mental illness by reducing stress, unnecessary conflict, and confusion.
What is comprehensive mental health?
When we are at work, we tend to abide by certain universal rules. We don’t, for example, consider it polite to call people names or use physical force to get our point across in a meeting. We do this in order to foster a polite, workable baseline of behavior: By having these socially acceptable boundaries, we are able to perform professionally without undue stress.
Likewise, comprehensive mental health involves creating a holistic environment that promotes mental well-being. The guidelines are a fundamental part of the company culture, and often include such measures as having open discussions about work-life balance, making self-assessment tests freely available, and learning how to communicate effectively with each team member.
For HR professionals, creating this environment can pose some challenges. Not all employees share the same professional background, and some may require specific onboarding or a tutorial to understand your company’s approach to comprehensive mental health. Some employees may have worked in environments that did not value mental health to the same degree, and have adopted aggressive behaviors that your current company would find abhorrent. They will need to unlearn these tactics.
Comprehensive mental health strives to make sure that every person’s mental well-being is excellent at all times. In other words, an employee shouldn’t feel that they are only supported during certain times, and that other work-related struggles they may be having are “their own problem.”
If they are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, or are consistently being made to feel that their work is not valued by the team, they should be made aware that they can seek help for those issues. A team functions best when members feel their concerns are legitimate.
How to support comprehensive mental health for employees
What are the best ways that HR professionals can help sustain comprehensive mental health for their colleagues?
Offer mental health screenings
As part of a larger campaign of transparency around mental well-being, employers can offer regular mental health screenings to team members. In the same way we regularly go to the dentist in order to prevent cavities, HR professionals can normalize the idea that having your mental health regularly checked is a great way to stay in optimal mental and emotional shape. The screenings should be held in an easily accessible location within the workplace, whether that’s a nearby room or an online portal.
Institute work-life balance measures
Employees benefit from having boundaries between their work and personal lives. However, in a culture of constant connection and 24/7 availability, it’s vital for organizations to make clear what those boundaries are. Simple measures, such as instituting a policy that work emails sent after 6 p.m. should not expect a reply until the following business morning, can be helpful when it comes to keeping employees from burning out. Also, make it clear that vacations aren’t just opportunities to check work email from a different geographical vantage point: instead, vacations should be a time to truly recharge and refresh.
Not all employees are alike. While this statement seems obvious, the practical implications require nuance and dexterity from HR professionals. Be prepared to work with employees to accommodate their individual needs in a way that bolsters productivity without putting an undue burden on any other employees. Some individuals, for example, may benefit from being able to attend a regular weekly therapy appointment during traditional working hours. It’s easy to maintain comprehensive mental health by allowing the employee some flexibility to adjust their schedule without taking away from the needs of their team.
Provide mental health benefits
Creating a holistically healthy and supportive environment is a major part of attaining comprehensive mental well-being. Providing excellent mental health benefits is another. By partnering with an experienced and data-driven provider such as Spring Health, companies can address any issues an employee may be having rapidly and accurately.
From self-assessment tests to teletherapy to clinical visits, we provide our members with tailored care around the globe. Please request a demo today to find out how Spring Health can support you and your colleagues.