Despite growing awareness of its importance, there continues to be a stigma around mental health issues. Indeed, people struggling with these issues may have difficulty performing their best at work. However, employers must realize that their support may foster a healthier, more supportive work environment that benefits everyone overall.
Fostering a healthy working environment
Some employers, out of prejudices, do not treat mental health issues with the same seriousness as chronic illnesses. Top leaders must overcome their biases if they want to implement effective policies and initiatives for it.
Employers may start by taking the time to understand the effects of mental health illnesses and the struggles employees face. This way, if an employee is having difficulty at work due to depression, anxiety, or other issues, managers know to provide support rather than penalize them.
Additionally, employers can offer resources for those who are struggling. Because mental illnesses are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), education and training programs on disability discrimination and employee rights may also emphasize its importance across the workforce.
Providing reasonable accommodations
When an employee has a disability, reasonable accommodations, or changes to a job or work setting, allow them to perform the essential functions of their job.
While most employers already know what reasonable accommodations, they can provide for those with physical disabilities and illnesses, they may struggle with mental health illness accommodations.
Employers will have to collaborate closely with the employee to see what specific accommodations might help make their duties more manageable. It could be a change in work schedule, being flexible with leaves or allowing remote work arrangements.
Though it can be a difficult journey, breaking the stigma surrounding mental health conditions can help employers support their employees better. Furthermore, this could empower employees to seek help when they need it, potentially leading to improved work performance.