By Lee-Ann Watanabe, Wellness Educator

May is National Mental Health Month. As an Employer, you should be talking about the role your organization can play when it comes to promoting employee wellness and mental health in your workplace.

According to the World Health Organization:

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

The workplace is seen as an environment where everyone is supposed to work hard and focus on getting the job done. And unfortunately, there’s still a lot of stigma around mental health, especially when it comes to mental health in the workplace.

The Wellness Council of America provides us with three strategies employers can use to become more informed and spread awareness during Mental Health Month in May. We’ve included these three strategies below for your reference.

Strategy Number 1:

Develop proactive strategic plans that address mental health and suicide prevention to protect employees and company profits. According to the 2019 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey: Mental Health, just 22% of employers currently have or plan to implement programs to address opioid use and suicide prevention this year.

Strategy Number 2:

Lead by example. Employers can continue to engage a broad approach to wellbeing, ensuring support for physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing across their workforce, and it starts with visible and proactive actions of leaders. These are intricately tied to the workplace environment, health culture and leadership involvement.

Strategy Number 3:

Complete a Culture and Risk Factor Checklist, to determine a comprehensive risk reduction and Mental Health Safety plan for this year. An assessment of ten different areas will provide insight and awareness around your company’s state of readiness. Using this strategy from Mettie Spiess, CWP, Founder of A World Without Suicide, you can secure buy-in from your leaders to integrate employee engagement and safety at your place of work. There is a real cost to not effectively addressing mental health. This value can be shown through case studies of companies experiencing positive support. Mental health is a safety priority and not simply a wellness goal. You can highlight the urgency of addressing employee suicide to address mental health and suicide prevention at your workplace.

Take steps today to decide if mental health training is something you should be addressing now. Tap into industry resources to help you discover how to build a mental health-friendly workplace and contact WYAO Hawaii today!

WYAO Hawaii is designed to support companies in the shift from an ‘activity-based’ wellness program to a thriving, integrated results-oriented wellness system. We are grounded in a nationally recognized and research-based model to assist companies through a seven-step sequence toward Workplace Wellness Success.

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