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10 Tips to Support Your Employees Mental Health

Posted October 06, 2022 by Steve Chrzanowski, Director, Group Retention & Sales Support

Woman in front of an open sign on a door

When one of your employees comes to work with a broken leg, you make concessions – like moving their workspace to an accessible area. Just as important, and often overlooked, is an employee’s mental health needs. At first glance, it may be impossible to know when someone is struggling, but studies show one in five adults is experiencing some form of a mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, stress, addiction issues). To put that into perspective, that’s 20% of your workforce.

Much like their physical health, your employees’ mental health doesn’t only exist outside of working hours. Whatever issues they are going through are coming to work with them. And those issues can affect their ability to communicate, be engaged, be productive and ultimately, perform their job. For example, employees who are having trouble sleeping due to anxiety or stress may come to work tired and be at greater risk for a workplace accident – leading to higher medical costs for your company.

Don’t assume the reasons they are stressed or depressed are due to factors that have nothing to do with their job or work environment. Studies show that a stressful work environment can aggravate mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some workplace factors that negatively contribute to an employee’s mental and emotional wellbeing include:

  • Inadequate health and safety policies
  • Poor communication and management practices
  • Limited participation in decision-making or little control over one’s area of work
  • Low levels of support
  • Inflexible work schedule
  • Unclear tasks/objectives or not enough resources to complete tasks
  • Overburdened schedule or workload

What Can Employers Do?

For starters, promote your company’s mental health tools and services all year long, not just during open enrollment. Normalize and prioritize mental health by offering a supportive environment and resources to help employees who are struggling. When you help build a resilient workforce, you also help build a resilient company because people who feel valued are more engaged, productive and less likely to want to leave. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Offer flexible schedules and work from home options. This is one of the top contributors to employee happiness.
  2. Invest in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Employee Resource Groups (ERGS) are one way to help foster the feeling of belonging. Some examples of ERGs include those for new moms, veterans and the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
  3. Find an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendor so that you can offer this program to employees and their immediate families. Make sure your employees know about this free benefit and how to access it (either virtually or in person).
  4. Encourage a regular self-care program whether that’s a daily mindfulness and meditation practice, attending yoga classes or weekly massages.
  5. Create training sessions to educate employees and managers about the different aspects of mental health, warning signs of a serious mental health crisis (like suicidal thoughts) and coping strategies.
  6. Offer classes and workshops during the workday that encourage prioritizing ‘mental health’ breaks. Some examples include music and art classes, narrative writing, yoga, chair massages, resiliency and mindfulness training and reiki.
  7. Make work fun! Plan social events like employee picnics and ice cream socials that promote building friendships with coworkers.
  8. Encourage employees to use their PTO to its fullest. Don’t expect them to be calling in or checking emails while on vacation or on days off.
  9. Make accommodations for people as needed. For example, reduce anxiety for new moms by offering a private space for them to pump if they are breastfeeding.
  10. Offer online tools and subscriptions to apps like Teladoc®, Calm and Headspace that employees can access on demand when they are feeling stressed.

Benefits for Your Company

When building an integrated health and well-being strategy, make sure it covers everything from prevention and early identification of symptoms to support and recovery. Doing so translates into increased retention, reduced disability and absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and most importantly, a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.

SummaCare offers several health and wellness programs that can help support your employees whether they are experiencing short- or long-term stress, anxiety, trauma or depression. For more information on the programs we offer, visit