When it comes to navigating the world of employee benefits, there’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re a first timer. Among the suite of benefits you’re likely to be offered, voluntary benefits are often misunderstood. What are Some Examples of Voluntary Benefits? Voluntary benefits include a variety of options, all designed to...
Mental Health Awareness Month: Five Tips to Activate Your Office
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues in the workplace. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our daily lives, mental health awareness is more important than ever before.
As an HR representative or benefits decision-maker, you have a responsibility to support your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. But what can your employees do to raise mental health awareness in the office, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month? Let’s explore some ideas and activities you can implement in the office this May!
Organize Mental Health Activities
Employees can organize mental health activities in the office to raise awareness and reduce stigma. This could include lunch-and-learns on mental health topics, yoga/meditation sessions or mental health first aid training. Encouraging participation in these activities can help employees learn about mental health, reduce stress and build supportive relationships with their colleagues. That’s why it’s just as important to make sure these activities are integrated into the workday and there’s buy-in across leadership for anyone to take part, no matter what department they’re in.
Invite Employees to Start the Conversation
One of the most important steps in raising mental health awareness is to start a conversation. Employees can initiate discussions about mental health by sharing their own experiences or asking others how they’re doing. One way to spark conversation is through weekly discussions around an open-ended topic throughout May covering mental health. Creating a safe and supportive environment where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health is crucial to breaking down stigma and encouraging help-seeking behaviors. Watch our Benefits Buzz podcast episode below to learn more about the value of these conversations and how you can help remove any stigma around mental health in your office.
There are many resources available to help people learn more about mental health and how to support themselves and others. Consider posting a bulletin board in-office dedicated to sharing mental health resources. Common resources include Employee Assistance Program (EAPs) or mental health hotlines. Make sure that your colleagues know that they can ask for help through these resources if they need support.
Encourage your colleagues to prioritize their own mental health by practicing self-care by yourself and with colleagues. Throughout the month of May, encourage your staff and peers to:
- Take self-care breaks
- Go for a walk with colleagues during lunch
- Take a mental-health day when needed
To further support these initiatives consider providing quiet spaces, meditation rooms or even a relaxation room. By normalizing self-care, you can help reduce the stigma around taking care of one’s mental health.
Address Workplace Stressors
Workplace stress can have a significant impact on mental health. If you notice that certain workplace stressors are contributing to poor mental health, speak up and advocate for change. Encourage colleagues to voice concerns with open dialogue, promoting inclusivity and openness. Some topics to address can include:
- Employee workload
The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not investment, legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel. To stay up to date on benefits trends and insights, subscribe to our blog.