Why Your Workplace Needs to Promote and Prioritize Mental Health

It’s been almost two years since the world was rocked with the news about the pandemic. Every day our minds have been flooded with updates about COVID-19. We have watched the cases surge and drop like a roller coaster, and with each time, so too have our emotions.

Many of us have been forced to work from home and boundaries between work and homelife have been blurred. As a result, we are more stressed, unable to focus, and our mental health is suffering. Being isolated at home has been extra painful for extroverts, causing even more challenges.

Returning to work in-person can be daunting and many have felt apprehensive, experiencing reentry anxiety. While being isolated is difficult, so too is being back at work with others after long periods being restricted to our homes. Many of us have anxiety about catching COVID, are relearning to interact in-person and are trying to adapt to a new “normal”.

More than ever, workplace mental health has become of paramount importance. 1 in 5 Canadian workers will experience a mental health problem this year and, as disturbing, the majority of us are chronically exhausted from the effects of the pandemic and are experiencing burnout.

While 39% say they have been prepared by their employer to handle their job’s psychological demands, only 35% have been given access to programs to help prevent burnout. And sadly, only 40% of employees have had help from an employer coping with stress. Now more than ever, our workplaces need to prioritize our mental health.

How Does Mental Health Affect the Workplace?

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte Global Talent, even pre-pandemic, a “large number of millennial and Gen Z workers were frequently suffering from stress and anxiety.”

Among millennials specifically, the survey states that 45% are concerned for the wellbeing of their families and 43% are stressed about their longer-term financial futures. Rounding out the list were their job/career prospects at 40% and their day-to-day finances at 39%.

Gen Zs found themselves most stressed about their career prospects and both generations wanted to leave their employers within the next two years. The reasons? It appears that 15% were struggling with work-life balance and the inability to be their true selves.

The fact that these two groups together account for most of the global workforce means employers are feeling their mental health struggles as challenges that they don’t have the tools to cope with.  When employees struggle with mental health, they doubt their abilities, are less confident, cannot focus, have trouble making decisions, withdraw from others, become less productive and their behaviour affects relationships with employers and co-workers.

While some will take time off work through sick days, others are unable to work effectively in their current mental state. This creates challenges for employers as they know their employees aren’t working to their full potential.

How to Improve Workplace Mental Health

We believe that mental health is just as important as physical health and should not be ignored in the workplace. Thankfully, we’re not alone. For example, in 2010, Bell initiated Bell Let’s Talk to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. Since then, they have also introduced workplace mental health training.

Despite this, there is still work to be done. According to Deloitte “millennials and Gen Zs surveyed remain hesitant about vocalizing their increased stress and anxiety to employers”, demonstrating that stigma is still a problem today. Therefore, the first step toward workplace mental wellness is normalizing the struggle that comes with being human and breaking the mental health stigma. Simply acknowledging the importance of mental health and providing resources for employees to access support is a step in the right direction.

By law, workplaces have to provide reasonable accommodations for anyone suffering from a disability, and this includes mental illness. According to benefitscanada.com, an astounding 92% of employers said their overall employee population is stressed and because of this, workplace mental health benefits are becoming a necessity, not a “nice to have”.

If your employer provides private healthcare, take advantage of your benefits. Luckily, insurance companies now make it easier to submit receipts online to be reimbursed. Your paramedical coverage should include psychotherapy (aka counselling), which is the most effective way to promote your mental wellbeing.

Promoting Your Mental Wellness

 

At Focus Mental Wellness, we are strong supporters of workplace mental health and we offer Canadians accessible, confidential and affordable virtual therapy. When businesses provide our services to their employees, they cultivate healthy workplaces so that they can live better and, in turn, work better.

Our CEO Marion weighs in:

“It’s a new era for mental health at work. We need to normalize the mental health challenges that occur in the workplace. The only way to do this is to offer mental health support through online therapy.”

With Focus, finding the right therapist is easy, wait times are eliminated and being able to do sessions confidentially via video, phone or text at a time and place that suits you make it very convenient.

Because our services are a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy, if you have workplace health insurance, you get more sessions with your coverage.

Our mental health should always be a top priority. In these troubling times, let Focus’ diverse network of qualified therapists be there for you and your mental health.

Live better with Focus.

 

 

Sources: 

https://www.thinkmentalhealth.ca/

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennials-gen-z-and-mental-health.html

https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives/

https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/mental-illnesses-in-the-workplace/

https://www.mhrc.ca/psychological-health-and-safety-in-canadian-workplaces

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/guides-and-publications/looking-for-mental-health-services