Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Mental health is everyone's business. It is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their potential, can cope with the everyday stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to the organisation. Approximately 1 in 6 working-age people will have a mental illness at any time of their life. A further one-sixth of the population will be suffering from symptoms associated with mental ill-health, such as worry, sleep problems, and fatigue, which, while not meeting criteria for a diagnosed mental illness, will be affecting their ability to function at work. 
According to a study by Instinct and Reason, almost 50% of employees in Australia left their workplace due to poor mental health environments. While 60% of employees working in a mentally healthy workplace say they are more committed to their job and less likely to seek other employment. 
Given these statistics, it is best to prioritise the mental health of the employees and create a mentally healthy environment in the workplace. Below are six ways to help you check and support your employees’ mental health.
Consider the change of behaviour
As a leader, you must go beyond and look at your team members’ change of behaviour because not all our employees will step forward to speak about their problems. Adequately addressing the issue to develop a possible action to solve it is the key.
Some of the common indications you can look for are depression, getting irritated quickly, taking a lot of time off, decreasing productivity, and withdrawing from social contacts. If you notice these signs of change in behaviour within your team, you must have a conversation to encourage them to talk about their concerns.
Talk to them regularly
Conversation builds a sense of belongingness and meaningful connection within the workplace. Checking in with our team regularly can create a positive culture where people are open to sharing their thoughts and make a difficult conversation easier, especially when a person is struggling.
Having a walking meeting is one good strategy to improve employees' overall health, and research has shown that it increases creativity by 81-100%. 
You can also check our related article where we discussed how to help someone struggling by following the 4-step framework of R U OK? to have a conversation that could change a life. 
Actively eliminate stigma about mental health
Today, mental health awareness has increased. But still, there are stigmas associated with mental health issues, such as being weak and incapable. This kind of thinking prevents people from seeking help and support even though they are experiencing problems.
A Teledoc survey reveals that 45% of employees will likely seek aid if more open conversations about mental health are present in the workplace. It is crucial as data also shows that 86% of people who received mental health treatments have improved in their work. 
Identify work-related stress factors that affect employees’ mental health
Encourage your team members to open up so you can identify the roots of their problems and address them adequately to minimise the risk factors. In workplaces, the most common mental health problems we encounter are depression, distress, anxiety and burnout. Some of the possible causes of these are overworking, unreasonable deadlines, poor working environment, inadequate supervision, discrimination and harassment.
Create supportive workplace mental health policies and resources There are various ways to implement mental health policies and resources. One of which is through educating your employees. You can offer your team an employee assistance program (EAP), giving them phone numbers or websites where they can ask for help and support, and hiring a professional to talk about mental health for your team. 
A PwC report reveals that businesses received an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies, investing in mental health benefits for both employees and employers. 
Encourage self-care Provide your team with information about self-care, positive coping strategies, and health insurance wellness benefits. It is a significant factor to keep them mentally healthy. Make ergonomics a priority as well. An excellent office location with good lighting and ventilation, chairs that support good posture, and a quiet environment are essential to keep that focus. You may consider allowing your employees to have breaks or do activities to reset their body and mind, but most importantly, you need to lead by example.
Every workplace is different; however, these six ways can help you check and support your employees’ mental health to bring a positive impact to your workplace.
Mentally healthy workplaces provide workers with many benefits such as self-confidence, belongingness, financial security, a sense of purpose, achievement, and social connection.
What does a Mentally Healthy Workplace look like for you and your team?
If you would like to know more about how to make a positive impact within your business or how we can help you improve your team's mental well-being that's tailor-made to your team, and progress you can test and measure, contact us today on 1300 114 818 for a private and confidential conversation or email us at email@example.com.
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