One in Five
In any given year, one in five people will experience a mental health challenge. This year – two years after the start of a pandemic that brought fear, uncertainty, and isolation for many – the consensus is that the numbers will surely go up.
As business leaders, we have ensured COVID safety to the best of our ability. We have worked tirelessly to balance new work models. Now we need to support the one thing that isn’t always so easy to talk about.
Removing the mental health stigma is a step towards helping those on our teams who may be feeling the effects of the pressures and challenges of the past two years. It isn’t always easy, and something I continue to work on, but giving your team – and yourself – both the space and permission to talk about mental health struggles is important. For those of us in the 24/7 healthcare field who are working with battle-weary heroes, it matters even more.
A recent study found that 61% of employees who felt supported by their employer reported being less likely to underperform and miss work, more likely to be comfortable talking about mental health at work, more satisfied with their job and more likely to stay in their company (Mindshare Partners).
For these reasons, and many others, this is important to me and I continue to learn. What I have come to understand is that supporting the team goes beyond offering Employee Assistance Plans – although if you’re not already doing this, you should. Supporting our teams means letting them know that you hear them, that they have permission to not be ok, and you are here to support them. While it may be a work in progress, I am focusing each day on supporting our staff in meaningful ways.
I am learning that it is time to listen – really listen – and give ourselves, as leaders, permission to see things differently and include our teams in a reimagined workplace, and all that that entails, to help shift the conversation from challenge to support.
Mental health is health.