As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, it’s important to note how the mental health of employees can impact a workplace.
According to a study published in World Psychiatry, individuals who suffer from mental illness not only struggle with the disease itself, but also the negative stigma that results from misunderstanding mental illnesses. This can lead to employees covering up the fact that they suffer from a mental illness.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health states that one in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, but more than half of those people will go untreated.
So what can a company do to make employees feel safe and ensure they receive the assistance they need?
Numerous mental health awareness groups, including The National Council for Behavioral Health, agree that education is key. Employees and supervisors should be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. In order to create a “stigma-free workplace,” experts recommend the following actions:
- Educate employees about mental health disorders signs and symptoms
- Encourage employees to talk about stress, workload, family commitments and other issues
- Communicate that mental illnesses are real, common and treatable
- Discourage stigmatizing language, including labels such as “crazy” or “nuts”
- Invest in mental health benefits
- Help employees transition back to work after they take leave
- Consult with your employee assistance program
The Center for Workplace Mental Health website also features the ICU Program, which was donated by DuPont’s Employee Assistance Program. It is specifically designed to reduce the stigma of mental health in the workplace and centers on three core concepts:
I: Identify the signs
C: Connect with the person
U: Understand the way forward together
Enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class is also an option. This eight-hour course will educate attendees on how to assist someone who suffers from mental illness. Students will learn to identify, understand, and properly respond to the signs of a mental health issue.
In addition to our typical First Aid courses, we at SCT also offer Mental Health First Aid classes. If you are interested in having your staff trained, call us at 1-800-204-1729 or fill out the contact form below.