An Employer’s Guide for Supporting Workplace Mental Health
It is an employer’s responsibility to care for the wellbeing of their employees. However, employers are not always aware of where to start in promoting mental health in the workplace. This guide is intended to walk you through tips and resources to understand more about mental health and how as an employer you can work toward supporting your employees from a mental health lens.
Addressing mental health in the workplace is one area of many that comprise an inclusive and engaging employer. Canadian Equality Consulting offers an Equitable and Inclusive Leadership Certification Program that can equip employers with learning methodologies and strategies to generate inclusion in the workplace. This program can also demonstrate how employers can engage in conversations on many topics (ie. mental health) to understand how to best support your employees. After reading this article, we encourage you to check out this program among our other services, to learn more.
How to Recognize and Address Mental Health Issues in Employees
If, as an employer, you begin to identify changes in your employee around demeanor, work habits, outbursts, and absenteeism, there is a high likelihood that they are struggling with a mental health issue. Moving forward, employers should actively address mental health in the workplace by providing education and training on facilitating these conversations. Keep in mind that CEC’s DEI training offers the tools needed to engage in these discussions.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), recognizes many strategies for addressing mental health. The first is to include mental health and psychological safety in your health and safety committee mandate. This ensures that the organization is making an active effort to address these issues. Another strategy is to assess the psychological safety in your workplace and develop a plan to address it. For example, CEC’s DEI consulting services can facilitate interviews and conduct surveys to complete these DEI assessments and can work with you to create action plans to close any gaps discovered.
What is My Workplace Obligation to Employees Struggling with their Mental Health?
As a foundation to supporting mental health, as discussed in part one of this series, employers should have a mental health policy in place accessible to their employees. This policy should state the employer’s dedication to addressing mental health and encouraging mental health leave for employees when needed. As well, employers should prepare those in leadership roles to be available to create opportunities for employees to share any concerns or recommendations around accommodations for mental health. Employers should also ensure that all employees are aware of the available employee assistance programs (EAPs) in case they require other forms of support.
How to Create a More Inclusive Workplace with Workplace Policies
It is evident that a mental health policy holds a lot of significance in striving toward inclusion in the workplace. With that, policy statements should demonstrate leadership and commitment in making mental health a priority. Beyond the mental health policy, additional policies and practices should be set in place to address workplace harassment, violence, and bullying. We recommend reviewing your current policies and thinking about how they may negatively contribute to issues of violence and harassment.
Resources for Employers Regarding Mental Health Leave
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), has a carefully constructed mental health resource centre that is beneficial for employers. Some of the resources include:
- Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders
- Mental Health Policy Framework
- Conversations You Need to Have about Mental Illness
- Workplace Mental Health Fact Sheet
- Return to Work Checklist
Canadian Equality Consulting offers DEI training in the forms of e-courses, webinars, and workshops. Mental health is partially discussed in each of our topics, especially in psychological safety and equitable and inclusive leadership. However, all our content is customizable, which means we can work with your organization to create a separate section on mental health that is specific to your workplace.
*If you enjoyed this blog series on An Employee’s Guide for Protecting Your Mental Health and An Employer’s Guide for Supporting Workplace Mental Health, be sure to inquire about any of the CEC services discussed at [email protected]. As well, CEC posts monthly blogs, and we encourage you to look out for September’s blog on An Employer’s Guide to Working from Home, to further your learning on cultivating diversity in the workplace.