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Employee Wellbeing: Prioritizing Mental Health in HR Practices

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For employees struggling to balance work and personal life, mental health prioritization in the workplace isn’t just a perk but proof that their employers don’t just care about revenue. The workplace can significantly impact mental health—both positively and negatively. By proactively integrating mental health support into HR practices, businesses build a safe working environment that creates a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.

 

Why Mental Health Matters in the Workplace

Mental health is often overlooked in many work settings. It’s not given the attention it deserves because, unfortunately, adults are expected to just power through and perform regardless of their mental state. But if more business owners and HR practitioners understood the direct impact of mental health in the workplace, more companies would put emphasis on its importance. Here are more reasons why mental health is crucial in the workplace.

 

Hidden Costs

Untreated mental health is like an invisible sickness that comes with challenges like stress, anxiety, and depression. In effect, it comes with high hidden costs in the form of absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased healthcare costs. In the US alone, more than one in five adults live with a mental illness, which means the more employees with mental health issues, the more losses companies are expected to face.

 

Culture of Silence

Stigma prevents employees from seeking help. Suppose employers or HR practitioners keep ignoring the possibility of some team members struggling with their mental health. In that case, they will eventually find themselves in an environment where camaraderie never flourishes, and no deep connection is formed. This can be mitigated by creating supportive and open conditions that can break down barriers.

 

Stronger Bottom Line

Mentally well employees perform better, are more engaged and likely to stay with the company long-term. This translates to stability and profitability for the company. Also, word spreads fast. Once a business starts caring for its employee's mental health, it will become a magnet for the best talents in the industry. This reinforces the company’s good reputation, attracting more exceptional potential employees.

 

Key Action Areas for HR Teams

These are the things the HR team can do to prioritize mental health in the workplace.

1. Destigmatize and Educate

Let employees know that it’s okay not to be okay. Health initiatives only thrive if there is genuine support from management. If possible, leaders should be open about their own struggles so they can better champion wellness programs. Human resources should stress the importance of mental health, highlighting that it is as important as physical health. Managers and leaders should be trained to recognize the signs of struggle so they can spot employees who need help.


2. Provide Accessible Support

If the company can afford it, companies should include coverage for mental health services like counseling or therapy. In-house counseling can also be provided while actively promoting the programs so employees know they exist. Taking mental health days should also be normalized and encouraged.

 

3. Create a Culture of Wellness

Flexible work arrangements are one great way for employees to manage stress. It also gives employees more time to balance work with personal needs. If employees will be working from home, they should be encouraged to step away from their desk once in a while and continue mindfulness practices. Remote work isn’t a license to require employees to be available at all times. Lastly, if the company employs a hybrid setup with some working at the office and some from home, facilitating bonding activities outside of work tasks to create stronger relationships within the team is recommended.

 

4. Proactive Prevention

There’s no way to predict which employees will have mental health issues and when. The only thing companies can do is try to mitigate them. They can do this through stress management initiatives, wellness challenges, and making calm spaces available to those who need them.

 

5. Measure and Refine

Anonymous surveys can help HR practitioners understand the stress levels of employees. Feedback from these surveys can be used to refine existing wellness programs and find areas where the company may be lacking when advocating for the employees’ mental health.

 

6. Create a Resource Hub for Mental Health

A dedicated webpage or internal website section on mental health is a powerful way to demonstrate your company's commitment to well-being. Include informative articles that address common workplace stressors, burnout prevention, and work-life balance, and provide links to trusted mental health organizations.

Utilizing SEO services can further amplify the impact of this resource hub by ensuring that it ranks higher in search engine results, reaching a wider audience of individuals seeking support and information on mental health. This will improve your reputation as a leader in promoting employee well-being, boosting employee engagement and retention, and aligning your business with corporate social responsibility initiatives and legal and ethical compliance.

 

People, Not Just Policies

Policies are a good start, but a truly supportive work environment requires ongoing commitment. Train managers to be allies, celebrate employees who prioritize well-being, and model healthy behaviors from the top down. Prioritizing mental health is an investment in your most valuable asset—your people. With the right approach, you'll create a workplace where everyone can thrive.

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About the Author: Marc Bartolome is a seasoned Digital Marketing Strategist and Growth Consultant who helps businesses achieve their online goals. Leading a talented team at SEO Services Australia, he consistently delivers exceptional results that drive growth and exceed client expectations.

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