Recently we publicly acknowledged our commitment to mental health. Chameleon Group recognizes that employees’ health extends beyond the physical. Mental health is a crucial part of both professional and personal development. We joined our friends at the Dover Mental Health Alliance to promote an inclusive and welcoming environment regardless of someone’s challenges. We wanted to take some time in this space to discuss mental health. Employers and business leaders can support their people through trying and difficult times.
The Dover Mental Health Alliance (DMHA) is a “grass roots community coalition, envisions a culture that understands, embraces, and addresses the complexities of mental health”. Their mission is to build a resilient community that is educated, responsive, and conscious of the impact of mental health. DMHA is part of Strafford County’s local Community Partners – a non-profit community health center. While this is an organization Chameleon has aligned with, there are several great organizations positioned to support mental health. Here are some ways you can support your employees with a commitment to mental health.
In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, one of the best things you can do to support your employees with their mental health is to set the example. Leaders can do this in 3 ways:
Be Vulnerable: To some degree, almost every leader has experienced challenges to their mental health. Being open with your own mental health struggles helps employees understand that they are not alone and not the only person who has faced such challenges. As a leader, you can reduce the stigma of discussing mental health.
Model Healthy Behaviors: Talking about mental health brings it out into the open, but actions are just as important. Grinding away every day causes leaders to forget to look up. Take time to share with your team that you are going for a break, you have a therapy appoint, or that it is okay to take time away from work and disconnect. By modeling these behaviors, you are giving your teams the permission to do so as well.
Culture of Connection: “Intentionally checking in with each of your direct reports on a regular basis is more critical than ever”. With employees working from home, it is even harder to recognize signs of distress. In a recent study, almost 40% of respondents said no one from their business has asked them if they are doing okay. Furthermore, almost 60% of workers surveyed said they are comfortable with their direct supervisor proactively asking them about their mental health and 41% actually wanted their manager to proactively ask them about it.
The younger the workforce becomes, the more the stigma of mental health will erode. However, if leaders are not engaging the conversation in the workplace, people will continue to hide in plain sight. As a leader, you need to become part of the solution and a beacon for your employees.