According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness. That means that at a company with 10 employees, at least 2 live with mental illness.
Mental health stigma can be a barrier for employees who wish to talk openly about their treatment and condition. There are several reasons an employee might not wish to disclose a mental illness, including fear of losing their job or missing out on a promotion and worry over coworkers and their managers judging them.
You can begin by breaking the silence. Lead by example, ask again, and become a mental health first aider. Read more about these three practical tips to starting the conversation at work with your teams.
Consider joining or establishing an Employee Resource Group for mental health. Organize a group of like-minded people who bring different perspectives, including race, gender, those with lived experience, and different levels within the organization. This group will have their fingers on the pulse of the company’s mental health culture.
Host regular checkins with your staff. Here are some tips on how to ask questions without being invasive.
Be open to making reasonable accommodations. Consider offering flexible schedules, modified break schedules, and rest area/private spaces and more.
And if you’re unsure how to respond after an employee shares a mental health challenge, here are three things to remember.