It’s no secret that mental health crises have increased in the past year. Whether it be due to work issues or health concerns, many have stated that 2020 was the most stressful year ever. According to data gathered in 2020, 76% of workers believe their employer should be doing more to protect their mental health during this turbulent time. Because just like COVID-19, mental health issues can take on different shapes and sizes across every job and generation.
As we enter 2021, the global workforce is still adapting to the new workplace. Many see challenges in remote work, and employees are seeking support from their employers. Working at home can often be isolating and can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. This lack of socialization can then impact work efficiency and lead to low employee engagement and satisfaction. It’s important that leaders in organizations incorporate consistent mental health trainings in their employees’ work schedules from home. As opposed to before the pandemic, there is a greater need for these trainings. Employees are struggling even more with burnout and work-life balance. Mental health is starting to become recognized as essential as physical health. Many studies have found that there is a direct link between mental and physical health where one can affect the other. And it makes sense - if we aren’t in a great mental space, we won’t worry about our physical health.
Mental health training can impact managers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavior towards employees with mental health problems and its effect on employee sickness absence. They are more sympathetic to employees who need to take time off because of burnout, stress, or other mental health issues. Additionally, mental health training teaches employees about common mental health conditions. It reduces the stigma surrounding mental health issues and helps teach people to spot the warning signs. Employees can help prevent issues from developing into more serious situations. In my experience, I’ve seen organizations I’ve worked for launch wellness programs and offer other resources to help keep their employees healthy and happy. One amazing tool I’ve seen numerous companies utilize is the Calm app. It features a full content library of sounds, music, meditations, and more. They offer streaming services and wellness courses for businesses while the public version is free to download. Almost everyone I know who’s used it loved it and received a lot of benefits from it ranging from improved sleep to mindfulness.
One great example of an organization that takes mental health training seriously is Zappos. The leaders at Zappos have really stepped up for their employees because of their commitment to employee health and well-being. They have helped their staff with medical care as well as mental health services and counseling. They really listen to their employees’ needs and genuinely try to help them with whatever they can. No wonder why their employees have high engagement and job satisfaction. Companies like Zappos who are aware of how important the mental health of their employees is and who can implement wellness programs and trainings will receive huge returns in investment. I guarantee it.
Milligan-Seville, J. S., Tan, L., Gayed, A., Barnes, C., Madan, I. & Dobson, M. (2017). Workplace mental health training for managers and its effect on sick leave in employees: A cluster randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 4(11). doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30372-3