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18

May is Mental Health Month

May is mental health month – a time to focus on and strengthen our collective efforts around prevention, awareness and taking action. It has never been more important than during this pandemic with growing rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, trauma and excessively high rates of stress.

What Can You Do Now?

Know the warning signs of common mental health conditions

COVID-19 is driving up rates of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of U.S. adults report that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

As mental health concerns related to the virus escalate, now is the time to address workplace mental health. Caring about the mental health of your employees has innumerable benefits, including building a resilient workforce, increased productivity, improved performance, retention of valuable employees, and overall cost savings.

Let your employees know you care about their mental health and well-being.

Consider sending out an email like this one to show that you care:

To Employees,
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be difficult for many of us. You may be finding the stress and uncertainty impacting your mental health and well-being. Taking care of both your physical and mental health right now is imperative. If you or a loved one think you may need mental health support, please reach out for help. Our benefits include access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP can connect you with a mental health professional or counselor (add contact information for your organization's EAP). Our healthcare benefits also include mental health coverage should you need it. Getting help when you need it is a sign of strength. Please remember, you are not alone, we are all in this together.

To learn more about the warning signs of common mental health conditions, visit the Center for Workplace Mental Health Resource: Knowing the Warning Signs

Promote and practice resiliency

Stressful work environments can cause great strain on your physical and mental health. This impacts individuals and organizations. Building resilience helps employees tackle stress, thrive in competitive job markets, address workplace conflicts and other challenges on the job. Improving resilience in the workplace is associated with greater job satisfaction, engagement, happiness at work and overall organizational commitment.

Here are five key factors for employers to consider in building a more resilient workforce:

  1. Resilient employees make resilient organizations.
  2. A resilient workplace requires leadership buy-in.
  3. In a dynamic work environment, resiliency training elevates job performance and work engagement.
  4. Building or improving a resilient culture is strengthened by a company-wide statement showing support for employees and a commitment to addressing resilience.
  5. Always look for ways to improve your work environment.

To learn more about resiliency, visit the Center for Workplace Mental Health Resource: Resilience: A Strong Workforce Needs It.

Keep your stress in check for overall health & well-being

Stress affects everyone. Work and its demands are often a source of stress. A little bit of stress can help employees perform at their best, excessive levels can be harmful.

Employers can reduce excessive workplace stress and help employees manage stress by focusing in five areas:

  1. Providing training for leaders and supervisors on effective ways to manage stress;
  2. Working with employees to create challenging but realistic goals for optimal performance;
  3. Modeling work life balance;
  4. Identifying and using employees' strengths and skills for career advancement; and
  5. Communicating clearly and managing conflicts respectfully.

Learn more here: Center for Workplace Mental Health Resource: Workplace Stress.

Plan a comprehensive workplace mental health initiative with Right Direction

Right Direction is a high impact, turnkey initiative that raises awareness about depression and other mental health conditions and encourages help-seeking behaviors. Right Direction helps organizations create a healthier and more engaged workforce and communicates to individuals that "you are not alone." Now with a refreshed look and feel, it provides easy to navigate online resources to take your workplace mental health initiative to the next level.

Safeguard your mental health and well-being during times of crisis

Working Remotely During COVID-19: Your Mental Health and Well-Being
Now more than ever, we must take care of our mental health and well-being. As we protect ourselves against potential exposure to the coronavirus, keep in mind that social distancing does not mean social isolation. This resource provides practical tips on taking care of our mental health and well-being.

Know the impact of mental health on your bottom line, business & employees

The Depression Calculator for Employers
Depression can be costly to organizations in lost productivity and healthcare costs. Interested in learning how costly? Use the Depression Calculator to estimate the cost of depression to your organization based on key demographic information. Share the data with others within your organization to jump start your workplace mental health initiative.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities.  If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s web resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.