The stigma around mental health is slowly being lifted in the workplace, but it still has a long way to go. In a Workplace Mental Health study by Staples Advantage and The Harris Poll, 65% of respondents admit they are reluctant to discuss mental health with colleagues.
In fact, only one in five Americans say they feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work.
That’s why it’s important for managers to lead by example when discussing this issue with their workers. Here are some tips on how they can do so:
- Be open and honest. Being honest about your own mental health journey will help others feel comfortable sharing their experiences as well. It will also show them that you respect their struggles and understand what they’re going through. Setting a positive example for your team will lift the veil of stigma around the topic and move things forward in the right direction.
- Set an environment that encourages honesty and openness. As a manager, you’re responsible for creating a work environment where people don’t feel that there’s something wrong with admitting that they have a mental illness or condition. Aside from being honest about your own experiences, you should also take steps to make sure that there’s an open dialogue within your team about mental health issues and encourage other leaders to do the same.
- Make Mental Health a Priority. There’s no better way to create a culture of acceptance than to make mental health a priority for you and your managers. Promoting regular check-ins with employees can help you recognize warning signs, which in turn helps you intervene early on and help employees before they need time off from work or treatment. Encourage supervisors to be proactively involved in their employee’s well-being by scheduling check-in meetings as part of performance reviews or other informal meetings throughout the year. Help them understand how important it is to listen and respond supportively instead of making judgments or being dismissive.