5 Ways to Tackle Mental Health Stigma in Your Company

5 Ways to Tackle Mental Health Stigma in Your Company

Posted by

One out of every four people will have trouble with their mental health. People with mental illness often hide it out of fear that their coworkers or bosses will treat them differently. These stereotypes can and should be broken. But managers on the ground have to act in a caring way. What can management do to help their workers?

How do you learn or teach the people on your team to deal with the mental health problems of coworkers or direct reports in the same way?

Here are 5 things employers can do to tackle mental health stigma in the workplace:

1. Pay attention to how people talk.

We all need to know how our words can make mental health problems look bad: “Mr. OCD is at it again, organizing things.” “She’s totally schizophrenic today!” “He is so bipolar.” 

We’ve heard and maybe even made comments like these. But these comments can sound like criticism to a coworker with a mental health problem.

5 Ways to Tackle Mental Health Stigma in Your Company

ALSO READ: 4 Ways Companies Can Offer Attractive Benefits

2. Reevaluate “sick days.”

No one tells you, “Let’s just push through” or “Can you learn to deal with it?” if you have cancer. People know it’s a sickness; you’ll need time off to improve. Your boss will tell you to go home and rest if you have the flu. But most business people wouldn’t respond similarly to emotional outbursts or other signs of stress, anxiety, or mania. We need to get used to offering and asking for days to work on physical and mental health.

3. Encourage people to talk openly and honestly.

People should be able to talk about their past and present problems without worrying about being called “unstable” or passed over for the next big project or raise. Employees shouldn’t fear that they will be judged or left out if they open up in this way. Employers can set the tone for this by telling stories about their own or other people’s struggles with mental health, how they got help, and how they went on to have great careers. They should also tell everyone to speak up if they feel stressed or need help.

4. Take the initiative.

Not all stress is bad, and people who work in high-pressure jobs often get used to it or find ways to deal with it. But long-term, unmanageable anxiety can make the symptoms of mental illness worse. How can bosses make sure that their workers find the right balance? By giving people access to programs, tools, and education on dealing with stress and building resilience. Nearly 70% of the people who answered our poll about employee burnout said their managers were not doing enough to prevent or treat burnout. Before stress leads to bigger problems, bosses need to do a better job of helping their workers find tools.

5. Train people to pay attention and act.

Most businesses have a medical kit in case someone needs a bandage or some aspirin. For example, some programs do role plays and other activities. They show how to listen without making assumptions, give reassurance, and judge the risk of suicide or self-harm when, for example, a coworker is having a panic attack or responding to something traumatic. These talks can be hard and emotional and can happen when you least expect them, so it’s important to be ready for them.

You want your people to be able to talk to you when they are having trouble and ask for help. These five ideas can help any boss or company create a culture where mental illness is no longer looked down upon.

Post your job opportunities on Jobstore.com today to attract talented professionals to your organization!

Anisa is a writer who focuses on career and lifestyle topics in an effort to motivate both job searchers and employers towards greater fulfillment in their professional lives.

Reach me at anisa@jobstore.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *