Embracing Mental Health in the Workplace

May 23, 2024 | Reskill Your Workforce | 6 min read

In the hustle and bustle of the modern workplace, mental health and emotional wellness often take a backseat to productivity and performance. However, neglecting the psychological well-being of employees can have dire consequences for both individuals and organizations. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a crucial time for team members and managers to become more educated on mental health issues in the workplace – ultimately fostering a supportive, resilient, and thriving workplace. 

Here's why learning about mental health is vital from both a team member and managerial perspective.

For Employees:

  • Self-Awareness and Self-Care: Learning about mental health equips employees with the knowledge to recognize signs of stress, anxiety, or depression within themselves. This self-awareness can prompt proactive steps towards self-care, including seeking help when needed, engaging in stress-reducing activities, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
  • Empathy and Support: When employees are educated about mental health, they are more likely to be empathetic towards colleagues facing mental health challenges. This creates a culture of support and understanding, making it easier for individuals to speak up and seek assistance without fear of stigma.
  • Performance and Engagement: Mental health issues can significantly impact an employee’s performance and engagement at work. By addressing these issues proactively, employees can maintain their productivity levels and remain fully engaged in their roles, contributing positively to the organization’s objectives.

For Managers:

  • Creating a Healthy Work Environment: Managers who understand mental health can create policies and an environment that prioritizes employee well-being. This includes reasonable workloads, flexible schedules, and access to mental health resources. A healthy work environment not only reduces absenteeism and turnover but also attracts top talent.
  • Leadership and Communication: Knowledge of mental health issues allows managers to lead with compassion and communicate effectively with their team members. Managers can tailor their approach to the needs of each employee, fostering trust and loyalty in the process.
  • Productivity and Profitability: There is a direct link between employee well-being and organizational performance. Managers who prioritize mental health can see improved team productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and a better bottom line. By addressing mental health proactively, managers can mitigate the risks associated with burnout and mental health crises.

Learning about mental health is a shared responsibility that benefits both the individual and the collective. For employees, it's about maintaining personal well-being and creating a supportive network. For managers, it's about driving performance and nurturing a healthy organizational culture.

Learning About Mental Health Through Training

Skillsoft has a robust set of solutions to support mental health learning at work. Our leadership and business solution, for example, helps identify and empower leaders across your organization to drive exponential business outcomes. 

From Dealing with Conflict and fostering Empathy and Connection to cultivating Mental Well-Being, the solution offers a plethora of resources – from courses to books to audiobooks – to help both employees and managers learn about emotional intelligence and gain insight on improving mental well-being.

Some of the courses in these channels cover topic such as: 

  • Working Well with Others: Effective collaboration fosters a positive work environment where colleagues feel valued and supported, leading to increased morale and productivity. By working well with others, individuals contribute to a cohesive and successful team dynamic, driving organizational success and personal growth.
  • Forging Relationships with External Stakeholders: Investing in strong stakeholder relationships is integral to achieving strategic goals, managing risk, and ensuring long-term success. Strong relationships facilitate open communication, enabling the exchange of valuable feedback and insights that can inform decision-making and improve outcomes. Nurturing these relationships cultivates a sense of partnership and mutual benefit, leading to collaborative efforts that drive innovation and growth. 
  • Optimizing Your Workplace Well-Being: A supportive and healthy work environment not only enhances employees’ physical and mental health, but also fosters greater job satisfaction and morale. By prioritizing well-being, organizations can reduce absenteeism and turnover rates while increasing productivity and engagement. 

Another powerful learning channel offered by Skillsoft is called Mindfulness at Work. Mindfulness is about being in the “here and now.” Those who practice mindfulness tend to feel less stressed, happier, and more successful. This learning channel helps employees and managers to become more aware of how they feel, respond with valuable mindfulness approaches, and positively impact mental health.

Some of the courses include:

  • Influencing without Authority: Learning to influence without authority is crucial in the workplace because it enables individuals to effectively navigate complex organizational dynamics and achieve their goals. In many professional settings, hierarchical structures may limit direct authority, making persuasion and influence essential skills for driving change and garnering support. By mastering the art of influence, individuals can inspire others, build consensus, and mobilize resources towards common objectives, regardless of their formal position within the organization. 
  • Listening Even When It Is Difficult to Listen: Learning to listen, even when it’s challenging, is essential in the workplace. In difficult situations, such as conflicts or high-pressure environments, listening attentively can de-escalate tensions and facilitate constructive dialogue, paving the way for effective problem-solving and conflict resolution. Additionally, it builds trust and credibility, enhancing one’s reputation as a reliable and empathetic team member or leader. 
  • Procrastination: Admitting It Is the First Step: Procrastination can lead to missed deadlines and subpar work quality, ultimately compromising individual and team performance. By adopting proactive strategies to manage time effectively and prioritize tasks, individuals can reduce stress levels and maintain a healthier work-life balance – fostering a sense of achievement and momentum, empowering individuals to take control of their workloads and pursue professional growth opportunities with confidence. 

And finally, here are some additional courses that Skillsoft offers to further the mental health conversation in your workplace:

  • ADA and Mental Health in the Workplace: Learn about the legal protections for mental health conditions in the workplace, including ways to create a more supportive work environment. This course provides a brief overview of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and unpacks how it protects individuals with mental health conditions and disabilities in the workplace.
  • Psychological Safety: Building a Culture of Inclusion and Innovation: Psychological safety means trusting that your team and workplace are safe for interpersonal risk-taking. It means that people feel safe to speak up, to offer ideas, and to ask questions. Discover the impact that psychological safety has in the workplace and how to nurture a mindset of psychological safety and build a skillset that supports it. 

Ultimately, prioritizing mental health education is not just a moral imperative but a strategic business decision. When employees and managers are equipped to handle mental health challenges, the workplace becomes a beacon of productivity, innovation, and human-centric success.

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