Leaders are beginning to realize that investing in the mental health and well-being of their employees is as important to the business as any other KPI. This shift towards making significant investments in resources to help employees deal with depression, anxiety, and stress increases productivity and boosts morale. Those leaders understand that ‘self-care’ and ‘mental health’ are serious issues that require active advocacy for an environment that supports employee mental health. 

Using Your Influence for Good 

Talking about advocacy, for some, is a political minefield while others relish the opportunity to champion a cause. For those who rise to the challenge, using their influence to advocate – not just for their organization’s fiscal and operational health but for creating a workplace that encourages growth, a mental health-friendly environment. By recognizing the benefits of supporting employees’ mental well-being, leaders ensure that everyone benefits, making the workplace healthier, more productive, and more supportive. 

Ultimately, leaders can use their powers for good to create a positive, supportive, and healthy work environment that benefits everyone. 

Creating a Supportive Culture 

Here are five actions that leaders can take to advocate for a healthier workplace and “what’s in it for you” (WIIFY):  

  1. Implementing Flexible Work Schedules: If we learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that many meetings should be emails. Even though this is widely debated, allowing employees some flexibility with their work schedules does show some increase in overall productivity and employee satisfaction.   

WIIFY: This flexibility can improve mental health by reducing burnout and helping employees maintain a healthier work-life balance. 

  1. Providing Access to Mental Health Resources: As a leader, it’s important to offer employees support when they need it most. Implementing programs and processes that facilitate access to help and connecting with resources can make a significant difference. 

WIIFY: Easy access to mental health resources helps employees manage stress, anxiety, and other issues before they escalate, leading to a more productive and healthier workforce. 

  1. Promoting Mental Health Days: Normalizing mental health days is a prime opportunity to encourage healthy dialogue around mental health in the workplace. In short, encouraging employees to take days off specifically for mental health goes a long way to destigmatize mental health issues and also acknowledges that mental well-being is as important as physical health. 

WIIFY: Mental health days can prevent burnout and reduce absenteeism in the long run, as employees are less likely to reach a point of severe mental exhaustion. 

  1. Conducting Regular Mental Health Training and Workshops: RER Consulting and Amplify Community Resources offer mental health and wellness services to municipalities and community-based organizations. We develop programming, conduct health fairs, and conduct mental health training and workshops to educate employees and equip managers with the necessary tools to support their teams’ mental health and wellness effectively.  

WIIFY: Such training can help create an informed and supportive workplace environment where employees feel safe discussing their mental health issues without fear of stigma. 

  1. Establishing a Supportive Culture Through Open Communication: Our research shows that there is still a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding this concept; however, leaders who model this behavior for employees cultivate mental health and wellness as a valued element of their corporate ethos. Promoting a culture of open communication and regular check-ins by leadership encourages employees to speak freely about their mental health struggles without fear. 

WIIFY: When employees feel supported by management and their peers, it can lead to higher engagement, increased trust in leadership, and a stronger sense of community. 

Final Thoughts  

Leadership in mental health advocacy transcends mere policymaking; it involves cultivating a culture where mental health is openly supported and valued. Demonstrating to employees that their mental well-being is as important as their professional output sets a powerful precedent, fostering a healthier workplace and a more resilient, engaged, and productive organization. 

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