Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite the prevalence of mental illness, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, common.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.

What can workplaces do?

  • Promote mental health all year long, but also highlight the issue during recognized events like Mental Health Day, Week and Month.
  • Ensure that mental health is included within a comprehensive wellness program.
  • Take steps to make sure that your EAP is accessible, not just by phone but also through teleconference, via email, etc.
  • Find out if your health coaches are educated in mental health coaching.
  • Actively promote available resources.
  • Ensure a socially, psychologically, and emotionally safe workplace.
  • Educate managers and HR professionals as the first point of contact, as well as regarding the importance of – and being equipped to have – regular conversations around well-being and regular check-ins with their team.
  • Gage the level of stress and symptoms of burnout. Take the necessary steps to prevent both.
  • Post resources throughout the workplace.
  • Share your stories and listen to others so all know it is safe and important to discuss not just physical health but also emotional, social, and psychological well-being.

The bottom line is that none of us are immune and all workplaces are impacted! Get involved!