As we come to the end of Mental Health Week, it's amazing to see how many businesses have your mental well-being at the heart of everything they do.
But, do they?
We hear from men all the time about how companies just hop on the mental health bandwagon each year, roll out a success story or two, talk about how great their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is, and fill loads of redundant social media slots.
A business that truly cares and understands the benefits of looking after employee welfare will be talking about it all year.
Here is a list of some of the actions your company could be doing to make your well-being a priority all year round:
Leaders leading by example and sharing their personal experiences: A company's commitment to mental health starts at the top. When leaders openly discuss their own struggles and share how they have overcome challenges without hindering their advancement, it sends a powerful message to employees that it's okay not to be okay. This level of transparency fosters trust and encourages team members to support one another through difficult times.
Offering flexible work arrangements: Flexibility is crucial for employees who are struggling with mental health issues. By accommodating individual needs and offering options like remote work, flexible hours, or job-sharing, companies can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.
Creating a company-wide safe space dialogue: Encourage employees to discuss their mental health concerns without fear of judgment or discrimination. This can be achieved by holding regular town hall meetings, providing anonymous feedback channels, and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding.
Providing comprehensive mental health support: An effective EAP should offer a wide range of services, from counselling and therapy to financial and legal assistance. Companies should also consider partnering with mental health organizations to provide additional resources and support.
Training managers to recognise and address mental health issues: Managers play a crucial role in supporting employees' mental health. Ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to identify signs of distress, provide appropriate assistance, and make necessary accommodations.
Encouraging work-life balance: To prevent employee burnout, companies should promote a healthy work-life balance by setting realistic expectations, discouraging excessive overtime, and encouraging employees to take regular breaks and vacations.
Celebrating successes and acknowledging challenges: Recognise and reward employees for their hard work and achievements, while also acknowledging the difficulties they may face. This not only boosts morale but also reinforces the message that mental health is a priority.
Implementing suicide and mental health first aid training: Equip employees with the skills to recognise and respond to mental health crises. This can help create a supportive, proactive network within the workplace and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Regularly evaluating and improving mental health initiatives: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your company's mental health programs and policies. Solicit employee feedback and make improvements as needed to ensure ongoing support.
Regularly promoting mental health awareness: A company that genuinely values employee well-being won't just talk about mental health during special occasions like Mental Health Week. They'll consistently share resources, tips, and information to help employees manage their mental health throughout the year.
As we wrap up Mental Health Week, let's keep the conversation going. If your company isn't taking these steps, it's time to start asking questions and advocating for change. Together, we can work towards reducing the male suicide rate and promoting mental health awareness, not just for one week, but all year round.