Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May since 1949 when it was started by the organization Mental Health America. The timing seems particularly apt this year as the country continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic but grapples with the experience and the ongoing effects.
This year, Mental Health America has designated the month’s theme as “Tools 2 Thrive”, aimed at finding ways to provide the tools to anyone who wishes to improve and maintain their mental health. Their website has a number of resources for people to find steps to reach their mental health goals.
Many companies are slowly reopening their offices to allow their employees to return to in-person working. However, this transition, coupled with the impacts of the pandemic on all aspects of life, may make the return to the office complicated, just as the adjustment to working remotely may have been or still is complicated. Companies regularly find themselves in difficult situations, for studies show that a only small percentage of employees are happy with their jobs while significant numbers of employees are regularly looking for other jobs while employed.
Not only is an unhappy work environment bad for employees’ well-being, but it is also ultimately bad for business. An unhappy employee or an employee working in an unhealthy environment can potentially see their personal lives affected, with stress impacting health and relationships while opening up the employee for long-term illnesses. These issues can lead to drops in productivity, increases in absenteeism, and an ultimate negative impact the company’s operations. There has never been a better time for employers to look at their structure and practices to find ways to create a more positive work environment.
By taking steps to create more positive workplaces for employees, companies will likely see productivity and morale increase. Employees are finding themselves with more to handle, both in business and in their personal lives, and when they find an employer that can work with them and provide professional and personal resources as needed. By putting mental health and well-being at the forefront while listening to the needs of both employees and operations, companies will create a more successful business overall. This month we’re looking forward to exploring the role employers play in helping improve and maintain their employees’ mental health.