Employee Health & Safety Part 2:

Mental Health

As we said last issue, one of the most important and legally significant aspects of your business is the health & safety of your employees. This is the second of 2 newsletters devoted to this topic.

Mental health experts & officials say that one of the inadvertent bright spots of the pandemic was the widespread recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, which in turn brought other, wider mental health issues to the fore.

As the CDC notes, “Mental health issues affect businesses and their employees. Poor mental health and stress can negatively affect employee job performance and productivity, communication with coworkers, and physical capability & daily functioning.”

As an Employer, you are in a unique position to not only affirm your commitment to a safe and healthful workplace for your employees, but to take steps to promote mental health awareness. Addressing mental health matters need not be very costly. Both your employees and your company may benefit from action steps, such as:

  • Making mental health self-assessment tools available to all employees;
  • Offering health insurance with no or low out-of-pocket costs for mental health counseling;
  • Distributing materials to employees about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health; and
  • Providing managers with training to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression.

Larger organizations may also have the ability to offer one-on-one coaching and company-sponsored retreats. But even smaller businesses can afford simpler tools, such as a dedicated quiet room that is not connected to a wireless internet signal (which gives employees a place to recharge), or lunchtime learning sessions to reduce stigma about mental health issues.

For additional information about mental health issues and resources, visit these sites:

Mental Health in the Workplace (cdc.gov)

Mental Health Resources for Employers | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)

NIMH » Multimedia (nih.gov)