May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to evaluate how we care for ourselves and others. About 1 in 4 adults live with a diagnosable mental health condition, a number that has increased in recent years. Everyone experiences challenges with their mental health at some point in their lives, whether that be the result of struggles at work, in relationships, or during a particular life transition. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have a diagnosable condition, but simply that everyone has moments where their mental health may not be optimal.
Mental Health at Work
The quality of our mental health impacts how we handle stress and relate to others, so it’s no surprise that our performance at work is greatly affected by the state of our emotional health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 95% of those who received mental health treatment over the last year reported that it has helped them at work, but treatment and support can only have an impact when individuals know which resources are available to them.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An employee assistance program, or EAP, is a confidential workplace service that offers employees and members of their household free assessments, short-term counseling, and follow-up services to help manage personal and work-related concerns. EAPs provide support around issues including depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, substance use issues, relationship concerns, and more. These programs can also offer referrals to mental health professionals, like a therapist or psychiatrist, for longer-term support.
In addition to an EAP, employers may also offer other mental health benefits, such as employer-funded therapy. This might include covering a certain number of counseling sessions for employees each year, which makes it easy for individuals to connect with a provider quickly while removing the cost barrier. Providing scheduling flexibility or paid mental health days can be another way to destigmatize mental health needs in the workplace.
Taking an online mental health screening is an easy way to get a quick snapshot of your mental health and determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Free screenings are available through Mental Health America and provide a useful starting point in determining which supports might be needed. Encouraging employees to get a “check-up from the neck up” by taking a screening is a simple way to highlight mental well-being in the workplace.
Many people don’t know what to do when faced with a mental health concern or crisis, and educating employees on the services that are available to them can make a huge difference. Regularly talking about mental health in the workplace and reminding employees of exactly how they can connect with mental health resources can enable them to seek help right when it’s needed while having their privacy and confidentiality protected.
Speak to your JKJ Wellness Coordinator to learn more about your plan’s EAP offerings and how to best support your team’s mental health!
Additional Mental Health Support Resources
Check out the links below for additional mental health support resources:
Take a Mental Health Screening
NAMI Blog – Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Make It OK – Campaign to Reduce the Stigma of Mental Illnesses