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How To Create A Corporate Culture That Supports Mental Health

Over the last several years, we as a modern society have been paying closer attention to not only physical health but the effects of mental health. This newer consciousness has come as a result of today’s pretty frightening stats:

  • a 30% increase of suicide since 2016
  • Over 264 million people suffer from depression globally
  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S – that’s 18.5% experience mental illness each year 

As this list grows, we need to find effective strategies to support mental wellness in a proactive way. Since adults spend one-third of their lives at work, mental health should be a part of the corporate responsibility structure.

Here is a list of to-dos from our HR expert:

Provide Easy Access to Resources

Have your company resources available to all employees at all times. Include this step in your onboarding process and keep it going with throughout the year company-wide, through your communications.

Certify Mental Health Experts In-House

Get your people certified and/or trained. And as cliché, as it sounds, knowledge is power, and it can truly help erase the stigma around this subject.

For training inquiries, you can reach out to the Canadian Mental Health Association or the National Council on Mental Health in the US.

Incorporate Mental Health into Your Business Strategy

Your corporate mandates, policies, and procedures should include mental-health-friendly initiatives. It’s important to include that in the foundation of your organization. Assembling a health committee would also greatly contribute to your policies and procedures.

Encourage A Healthy Balance

Take time to strategize on how your organization will encourage a work/life balance at all levels. The example should be set from the top down.


Invest in Empathy and Compassion

It’s important to lead with empathy. You never know what someone is going through, and it’s vital that “assumptions” are not in play. A simple, caring conversation can literally change the course of someone’s life. Respect and dignity are the keywords here. And remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to work as a team when strategizing on the next steps and solutions.

Give an Outlet

There is no better way to encourage employees to speak up, then giving them an outlet. At IMI, we have a virtual assistant called, Rhonda which delivers the tools to take action and improve company culture and performance through weekly sentiment analysis. Each employee can give honest feedback which will then be discreetly followed up on by a manager if there is an issue to be dealt with.

Address Issues Right Away

Once you determine that there is an issue, address it the right way, right away. The most important items to remember are to stay calm, don’t interrupt, and allow the person to have choices to make.

You’ll have to triage the situation the same way you would if you were using first aid on a physical injury.

After the issue has been addressed, ensure that you have a plan for a follow-up, and check-in for a progress report.

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