HR’s Role in Mental Health Awareness
The Human Resources (HR) department, specifically the HR professionals, is faced with many unique cases and circumstances. The COVID crisis has yet put them in a challenging situation which is the challenge of dealing with employees who are at the surge of struggling with mental health problems. If HR professionals do not have the skills required to deal with this subject, their initial response to the situation could be damaging. Therefore, HR professionals must be educated on the subject of handling the mental well-being of employees.
While the idea of mental well-being may seem complicated, the human resources departments can take simple steps to tackle the situation.
Here are some ideas which can help.
- Create and increase awareness:
The first response of HR professionals of any organization should be to educate them and the employees of the meaning and benefits of a productive state of mental health. The stigma must be ended, which creates misrepresentations and misunderstandings. Once the taboo is broken, it becomes easier for people to ask for help. One in five Americans experiences mental health problems at least once in their lives. Because of the fear of being labelled by others or treatment costs and other reasons, only a quarter of them receives proper treatment. It is essential that HR teaches the workforce basics of mental health challenges and diminish the myths associated with it.
- Provide Resources:
HR departments can best support their employees by providing valuable resources to them. Special training programs can train the management on how to best handle the situation once it becomes evident that someone in their team struggles with mental health. HR departments can also list the supported health care professionals to put the employees in the right direction.
- Show empathy:
It is essential to let the person struggling to know that s/he is being listened to. One of the best things is to let the person know that you are there to help even though you may not relate to their condition. Having someone to share thoughts with can prove extremely useful to people with struggling mental health. Furthermore, an open and supportive work environment must be created. Such an environment makes it easy to spot mental health problems as people are more expressive. Things can be handled before they take a terrible turn.
- Provide flexible working options:
A more flexible approach to working conditions can significantly help people with mental health issues. Working from home and flexible hours can make more difference than most people think. A flexible approach to working means employees take fewer days off due to work-related stress and mental breakdowns.
- Provide online life coaching and group coaching sessions to help employees manage stress:
Organizations are familiar with providing executive coaching, career coaching or mid-level managers performance coaching support. Organizations are using this time to bond with their employees and support them through Covid-19 stress by providing online life coaching and mindfulness sessions and group coaching sessions to help cope with stress and anxiety.
- Manage well-being at work:
Well-being at work is the new talk of the town. Progressive organizations encourage positive well-being at work, such as benefits and incentives to reduce employee stress levels and manage their anxiety. Improving well-being at work is a preventive measure for mental health.
All employees are prone to having mental health problems, especially during crisis time; it’s common in all organizations. Every business comes with a responsibility to support its staff. Small steps in the right direction can help reduce stress among employees. It is impossible to help everyone, but HR professionals can put things in place. Creating a positive and open environment where employees can seek help can make all the difference.
If you are a mental health professional or an HR professional and want to learn how to best support people by coaching them, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.