EntertainHR: An Employer’s Guide to Dealing with Mental Health in the Workplace | FordHarrison
3 mins read

EntertainHR: An Employer’s Guide to Dealing with Mental Health in the Workplace | FordHarrison

In just a few short weeks, the world will watch as the most talented athletes in the world break world records and accomplish what no one has ever done before. After years of training, it will all come down to this one race, this one outdoor exercise. With cameras in their faces and millions of viewers watching, these Olympians will have to overcome their nerves while attempting the unthinkable. There is no room for error, no room for weakness. Before the 2021 Olympics, fans rarely questioned or discussed the sanity of these fearless superhumans. That changed three years ago.

EntertainHR: An Employer’s Guide to Dealing with Mental Health in the Workplace | FordHarrison
A nod from simonebiles.com

On that fateful day, mental health took center stage as arguably the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, experienced a “mental block” in front of millions. While many athletes experience this during their careers, this time it happened to one of the most decorated Olympians in the world, in full view of everyone. In one of the most public acts of self-care, Biles decided to put her mental health first and withdrew from competition. Her courage has led to more conversations about mental health in sports and the workplace. Because of this discussion, employers around the world are now recognizing the importance of the mental health of their employees.

The collective stress we’ve all experienced during the pandemic continues, causing rates of mental illness to skyrocket over the past five years. The American Psychological Association warns that the superficial characterization of life as “back to normal” “masks the mental and physical health consequences of trauma.” Fortunately, however, millions of people are recognizing the signs of mental illness early and getting the help they need. According to a study by the Mental Health Association, 2023 will see the largest increase in mental illness diagnoses. In 2023 alone, 45% of adults ages 35–44 reported a mental illness, up from 31% in 2019. These numbers are rising year over year. Mental health is real, and employers need to be prepared to address it head on to ensure a healthy workforce.

Here are some helpful tips employers should consider to help manage a mental health crisis:

  • Promote a culture of support in the workplace
  • Integrate mental health into your company benefits program
  • Create a clear policy on your company’s commitment to supporting the mental health of your employees
  • Provide a range of resources to encourage employees to look after their mental health
  • Train managers on mental health policy annually and make a copy available on the company website
  • Regularly check in on your employees’ mental health and train your leaders to look out for signs of possible mental health issues
  • Create a confidential open-door policy to allow employees to talk openly with their managers about mental health issues

To help navigate these uncharted waters, employers should seek legal advice that specialises in employer legal obligations and best business practices for managing mental health issues in the workplace.