Let’s Change the Workplace Mental Health Conversation

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it is a great time to change the mental health conversation in the workplace. When the term mental health is used today in the workplace, the term is most often being used as a proxy term for mental illness. The focus is on getting employees the help they need.

The reality is that mental health in the workplace is about more than just addressing mental illness. It is also about addressing mental wellness and psychological/psychosocial distress.

The three components of workplace mental health can be addressed through strategies and tactics related to promotion, prevention, as well as treatment support. Promotion and prevention need to be added to today’s conversation which is primarily focused on support for treatment.

If employers want to truly effectively and successfully address employee mental health, promotion, prevention and treatment support all must be addressed by the employer.

The good news is that resources, tools and guides exist that employers of any size can use. Every employer can do something to address promotion, prevention and support for treatment. Since 100% of employees have some level of mental wellness, 100% of employers need to be partnering with their employees to co-create strategies and tactics across the spectrum of mental health.

Today’s Great Recession is providing employers with a Great Opportunity to implement a Great Rejuvenation of work and the workplace. It is time employers moved past the Do More With Less paradigm and focused instead on creating and maintaining positive, supportive, human-centered workplaces.

It is time for a new paradigm — the Do More Because I Am Valued More paradigm.

Managers/leaders and employees alike operate on the basis of their inner realm and inner systems, or in other words, the intra-personal realm. These are included in the mental health system. This means employers would be wise to focus on and build a conversation around a comprehensive mental health model rather than one which focuses only on supporting the treatment for mental illnesses when they occur.

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William McPeck

William McPeck

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Bill McPeck has been involved as a leader and practitioner in employee health, safety, wellness and wellbeing for close to 30 years.