April 26, 2023

Mental health issues at work affect employees across all levels and industries. Providing resources, support and training that meet employees’ mental health needs is part of building a culture of connection and caring.

The president mentioned it in his State of the Union address. Lawmakers are talking about their personal struggles. Pro athletes and Olympic medalists, too. The topic is mental health, and according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and CNN, the majority of Americans think there is a mental health crisis in the US.  

In the workplace, employees are experiencing high burnout and stress levels and prioritizing their mental health. This heightened focus on mental health amplifies the need for organizations to proactively address employee concerns and build health and wellness into the company culture.  

HR leaders are stepping up and taking action

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity for HR leaders to promote the company’s mental health offerings and reinforce a commitment to support employee wellbeing throughout the year. While the stigma around mental health continues, the good news is there are more conversations taking place, as employees and managers feel more comfortable talking about their mental health and wellbeing.  

Fostering psychological safety at work helps to reduce stigma and fear around mental health and increase understanding. A psychologically safe environment also creates space for employees to feel confident asking for help and using employee assistance programs (EAPs) and other available resources. HR and managers can boost EAP use by regularly communicating what services are available and how to access them, and reassuring employee confidentiality.  

Flexibility is a cornerstone of effective health and wellness initiatives. Recognizing that everyone has different needs – depending on factors such as age, gender, culture, job and industry – offering flexible benefits, activities and resources (online and in-person) give employees choices, with positive results at lower costs. 

Taking a holistic approach to mental health support reinforces a commitment to a positive work culture that leads to happier employees and higher retention, customer satisfaction and productivity.
Maggie Smith, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Traliant

Insights & Actions 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, here are 7 ways to promote and support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace: 

  • Be proactive and survey your workforce to find out what mental health issues and support are a priority. With data in hand, you can more effectively tailor programs that employees want and will use.  
  • Regularly communicate to employees what mental health support services are available and ensure the offerings are easy to access 24/7. Along with maximizing access, reinforce the message that EAPs are confidential, and the services are free to employees and their families. 
  • Encourage senior leaders to share their own mental health experiences. Leaders who are willing to be vulnerable can make a big difference in reducing the stigma and making it okay to have honest conversations about health and wellbeing challenges.  
  • Train, educate and encourage managers to support the mental health of their teams on an ongoing basis. For example, managers can send out helpful articles and links — there are plenty around Mental Health Awareness Month – and remind team members to use the health and wellness resources. Managers should also remind themselves.  
  • Ensure managers schedule one-on-one meetings with team members to learn about changes, problems or challenges they may be facing. These are difficult times for many employees and their families and it’s important to listen with empathy and offer flexibility and leeway for individuals to adjust to changing circumstances.   
  • Provide opportunities for social connections, where employees can get together (virtually and in-person), get to know each other better and build trust and a sense of belonging. HR teams should join in, too. 
  • Show that the organization values work-life balance and urge employees to take time off. Again, flexibility is a great motivator. For example, taking a sick day for self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. If employees aren’t taking care of themselves, how can they take care of customers and help the business meet its goals? 

Traliant Training

Looking for interactive, bite-sized training to promote mental health and wellness in the workplace? Get a free trial of Traliant’s Employee Health and Wellness Training



Maggie Smith