It’s time for part two of this month’s three-part series on supporting mental health during a pandemic. Last week’s post featured some really great information on personal mental health, and contained some important resources, so go check it out if you haven’t yet.
Today, we’re going to focus on how you can support your work team’s mental health. Like we touched on last week, nearly everyone seems to be struggling in some way right now. When the pandemic began eight months ago, many of felt like we were in survival mode—and that survival mode has gone on for so long that many are experiencing the signs of burnout. Keeping your team healthy and happy should be a priority for you, both now and always.
Back in the 1950’s, the phrase “mental health” was nearly unheard of around the office. However, over the past several years, we’ve begun to realize that supporting mental health and wellbeing is one of the most important ways to maintain a positive company culture, increase efficiency and keep your employees feeling valued and satisfied. And, one of the most important ways to do that is by raising awareness about the importance of mental health.
This month, we’ve partnered with NAMI , the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of people. NAMI’s website has a plethora of resources that can help you to learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions, how to recognize the early warning signs and the importance of acknowledging those warning signs. If you’re interested in ways to start erasing the stigma associated with mental health in your workplace, their site is a great place to start. And, if you’re as impressed with their mission and content as we are, we’d encourage you to donate to their cause.
Keep the Conversation Open
It's pretty normal to feel uncomfortable discussing mental health, especially around your coworkers. But silence is one of the biggest enemies to mental health, and since most people get the majority of their daily interaction from coworkers, it’s important to keep that dialogue as open as possible. If you’re someone in a position of leadership, it’s crucial that your employees know that you’re a safe place, and that you’ll keep all information about mental health confidential. Consider making regular announcements about where to turn for help, sending out lists of helpful resources, and encouraging your teammates to “check in” with themselves to make sure they’re doing okay.
Support Time Outs
Although you should take your job as a leader in your workplace seriously, recognize that the workplace isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the focus of everyone’s lives. It can be easy to get sucked into the trap of working all the time to avoid dealing with emotional turmoil, but that can lead to negative repercussions over time. Encourage your teammates to take breaks whenever is reasonable—whether that’s a long weekend, a vacation, or even an hour or two to reset. Putting 100% of your efforts into work at all times is NOT healthy, and it can affect every part of your life. Embrace balance and be willing to pitch in and help others when they need to take a break—hopefully, they’ll do the same for you when it’s your turn.
Also, keep in mind that getting adequate sleep is an important part of mental health. Making sure your teammates have enough time to rest is another great benefit that can come from a healthy work-life balance. Enough rest encourages productivity, happiness and overall health—all things that are pretty important, especially now.
Right now, it’s harder than ever to foster human connection, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. As humans, we’re designed to interact with one another, and limiting that contact can seriously impact mental health across the board. And, while some people may love the idea of working from home, there are likely those on your team who are struggling with the isolation that comes from remote work.
As a teammate, do your best to encourage as much connection as possible. Create Slack channels that open up a discussion about lighthearted things, rather than just work—at Verb, we post a lot of funny videos, delicious recipes and viral TikToks. You can also plan virtual events that give your teammates a chance to interact outside of work while still maintaining safety standards (for more ideas about that, check out this blog post).
Remember: We’re all in this together, and we need each other to get through difficult times. However, you should also keep in mind that sometimes, supporting mental health means seeking professional help. If you know someone on your team is struggling, you should do what you can to help them find appropriate care.
If this topic has seemed timely for you, you’re in luck, because we’ll continue talking about it next week. Check back for the final post in this series, where we’ll discuss how to adjust your marketing strategy to remain sensitive to mental health.