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  • Writer's picturelindsayannkohler

5 Ways That Businesses Can Help Promote The Mental Wellness Of Their Employees

This originally appeared in Authority Magazine on June 7, 2021.

For the sake of inspiring others, we would love to hear about five steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each?

1: Leadership vulnerability. Have leaders share their own mental health journeys. One client had their second in command host a panel on mental health, where he and others in the business talked openly about their struggles, fears, and anxieties. The behavior you want to see in your organization has to come from the top.

2: Normalise the topic. Get as many people as possible included in the conversation. You can do this by creating a place for sharing these stories that feel authentic to your company. For example, Facebook ran a campaign called #OpenUp that encouraged people to share stories and it was underpinned by the imagery of butterflies, a universal symbol of hope. Identify a place to collect these stories so people can browse and feel less alone (and share their own!).

3: Framing is key. Use ‘poor mental health’ versus ‘mental illness, or ‘topic’ versus ‘issue’. Words such as illness and issue have inherent negative connotations that can make people hesitant to speak up.

4: Create a book club, sponsored by those across the business, that dives into different aspects of mental health. Themes could include good news, meditation, or inspiring stories.

5: Check-in with your peers. EY had a famous campaign — ‘r u okay?’ — that encouraged colleagues to check in with each other just by asking that simple question. You can take that a step further and create a crib sheet of conversation starters for people to use to check in with each other. This identifies what questions people can ask to open up the conversation: things like “How is your energy today?”

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