How to Raise Mental Health Awareness & Shape a Better Team?

Human Resources

October brings about a lot of festivals and celebrations worldwide.

Celebrations and festivals, like international music day and world teachers’ day, have a strong emphasis on promoting global harmony.

A lot of Indian festivals like Dussehra and Diwali are also celebrated this month.

So, most of us are busy enjoying this month. But, let’s not forget the day of October 10th.

I know your face right now.

I know you are clueless about mental health.

Okay, I won’t waste your time, it was World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October.

As a matter of fact, half of India is unaware of mental health issues. It is the reality.

A 2017 study1 estimates that 1340 million people live with a mental health disorder globally.

What is mental health, you ask?

Well, mental health comprises the emotional, psychological and social well-being of a person.

Heard of depression?

Yeah, that happens because of bad mental health.

Why should you read this blog?

This blog will tell you,

Why should companies pay attention to employees’ mental health issues?

Look, honestly speaking, companies mostly care about money (profit), except these new-age startups, which get a higher valuation by making huge losses. 

Jokes apart, most companies don’t really pay attention to employees’ mental health issues.

They don’t find it that important. But it is important. More important than you can imagine. 

You see, mental well-being is like spring. The more you suppress it, the harder and higher it bounces back. 

The important thing is businesses are run by people, not machines.

If the people running the show are not mentally well, they won’t be able to deliver quality work.

Therefore, companies will not function optimally.

Simple…

I would have listed many common reasons, but whatever I say, won’t be enough to emphasize the importance of mental health.

What should you do to spread mental health awareness in the workplace?

Here, I am dividing these points in two, one for employers and one for employees. So that, mental well-being can be ensured from all possible angles.

1. As an employer

As an employer, you are not only responsible for the company’s growth, but also for individuals’ growth.

So, these points are crucial to follow to have a fair and transparent work environment.

1. It is your duty to listen, understand, and not ignore it

As an employer, you should always listen to what your employees are saying. Then you should assign them projects after understanding everything and keeping in mind that he/she is human and can have mental health issues.

You should be accessible to even team members at all stages of the hierarchy. This ensures that they have your support and your ear whenever needed.

2. The better the communication, the better it will work out

Communication is the key to the solution to each and every problem, this is what I believe. 

Significant problems arise in a team when there is poor communication and misunderstanding.

So, you should establish the company culture in such a way that your employees feel free to communicate within themselves.

That’s why Manasi had shared some tips on how to learn communication skills some time ago.

But the conversations should not be very personal or very professional. You should maintain a good balance. Just like we do in TCC through memes. 

Memes are TCC's love language. This boosts mental well-being among the team.
Pro tip: Try to be engaging and funny during work, so that your employees can be friends with you. 

3. Take their time seriously

Employees are giving their precious time to you, which they won’t get back. 

So don’t let them feel bad during work hours. Value their time.

Because of them, you can run your business smoothly. 

You take care of your employees; they will take care of your business.

4. Grant them leaves

Humans burn out. Your employees (who are humans, by the way) burn out because of overwork, pressure, stress and a myriad of other reasons.

If they are asking for leave for genuine reasons, grant them leave, because if they are in the office and their mind spaces are occupied because of those genuine reasons, then it is all waste. 

5. Build a flexible work routine for them

If you run a remote company like TCC, then well and good. In this case, you can create a flexible work routine for your employees.

But if you run an onsite company, then try to create a work routine as per your employees’ flexibility. I know it is not conventional. But try to do it. 

For example, brands like Microsoft and Apple are working in hybrid mode after the pandemic.

6. Abolish senior and junior culture

Simple…Get rid of the senior-junior culture in your company.

I know it will take a long time to do so. But you can ensure that your employees stop calling sir/ma’am to seniors. 

Mehul and Manasi do this all the time to make us comfortable. 

They call themselves coworkers or parents of TCC instead of bosses or founders.

7. Stop harassment

There is no need to explain this one.

No type of harassment should be tolerated at your workplace so that your employees can feel safe in the environment.

This is what Manasi (parent of TCC) thinks about harassment.

8. Implement fair policies

Everything should be fair and crystal clear in your company. 

For example, if one of your employees is coming to the office late every day, you can do this.

Instead of warning them verbally every day, make it a rule, like whoever comes late, some amount of salary will be deducted. Simple…

If you do this, then no one will feel exploited and the organization will run smoothly. 

9. Understand their personal situations

Be open-minded. Understand what is going on in his/her life.

Try to solve the problems of your employees, don’t be the problem. 

This will create a better bond with your employees and make them loyal, as well as increase their productivity.

10. Build mental health councils in your company

Employees are not that vocal about mental health.

So, you should build mental health councils to educate them about mental health and to have healthy conversations on their mental health issues.

For example, Pinterest has created a mental health council/group in their organization called “Pinside out”. It is good to give space to employees by creating such councils.

11. Give mental wellness breaks

Employees burn out because of overwork. So, you should give them breaks and leave from time to time to recharge.

For example, HubSpot is giving mental wellness breaks/holidays to their employees.

These breaks help employees to recharge themselves and reduce their stress levels.

12. End the culture of taking undeserved credit

Let me explain. If a project is assigned to one of your employees and his/her senior is taking credit for the work done by him/her, then it is wrong.

So, take action against it. 

Because of this single reason a lot of employees feel harassed and exploited in the workplace, taking him/her one step closer to mental health issues. 

13. Be non-judgmental and practice equality

I think there is no need to explain this one.

Practice equality everywhere to prevent mental health issues.

Because work culture matters.

2. As an employee

What can you do as an employee?

Nothing? Okay, jokes aside. 

1. You can talk about it

The problem is employees don’t know what, how, and when to talk to managers about their mental health issues and surprise, surprise, the managers don’t know it either. 

When the employees start talking about it, their managers and team members will get to know what is going on automatically.

Imagine you are playing cricket.

One of your batswomen is sad and depressed for some reason. Thus, she is not performing well in the match. What would you do as a captain?

Obviously, you will try to find out the reason and try to make her happy. You will talk to her.

Then, there is a chance that she might feel well and perform well in the next match.

This same thing is happening in organizations across the world. Employees are facing depression, with no one to care for or talk about them.

2. Maintain a fine line between personal and professional life

Don’t mix these two. Keep these separate.

I know it’s easier said than done. But define your boundaries even before you start, which will make things easier.

Don’t feel bad all day because of what happened in your office.

Simple…

3. Don’t keep or promote a laid-back attitude

You should know that, if you take things for granted, problems happen. Remember that time when you took your girlfriend/boyfriend for granted and problems happened?

Jokes apart, be serious about your work. Don’t keep a laid-back attitude. 

Remember, it takes one to be one. So, steer clear of people who do not have any specific goals or growth mindset.

Brands that focus on employees’ mental well-being

Not just individuals, but these brands as a whole are making a difference in their team members’ lives through activities that promote mental well-being.

1. Pinterest

Pinterest created a pinspiration group (an internal community) in 2020 to host mental health-related events and to serve as a conference for employees to talk about mental health issues in the workplace. 

Pinterest employees are also participating in this “PINSIDE OUT” program by offering their time and expertise through virtual classes teaching meditation.

2. Microsoft

At Microsoft, employees share their mental health stories, which happened organically, not through an awareness program.

Their initiative “Microsoft cares” is offering counseling to all employees. How cool is it? Isn’t it?

3. Unilever

Unilever has taken it one step ahead. They do in-person workshops on mindfulness and mental health issues in their workplace.

They have also created an app, which provides health information and urgent assistance to their employees.

4. Ernst & Young LLP (EY)

Ernst & Young LLP (EY) has launched a program called “Better you“, which is designed to support physical, social and emotional needs by offering their employees free resources. 

Their program offers up to 25 counselling sessions for their employees and their family members in meditation training.

EY also covers the cost of online support tools to help employees to manage stress.

Takeaways

Whatever the problem is, the immediate solution is communication.

As a good employer you should communicate with your employees and try to know their stress levels and plan accordingly, or else they will go into depression because of overwork.

Employees should be treated like humans, not robots.

If you are an employee, reading this blog, I have written something for you.

I am depressed.

It’s not a matter of fact
That I will go inside the dark,
Let me explain what’s going on
Will get back on the track.


I am not depressed.

The moment I will think to live
The further I will walk upon,
Will not think to give my life
Won’t let it go in vain.

I am not depressed.

In Conclusion

A lot of companies are doing so many things to help their employees reduce stress. They are also taking care of their employees’ mental health issues. Is your company doing so?

If not, then…

why not talk about mental health?

If you are an employee, reading this blog, remember if you are having some mental health issues, please discuss it with your teammates and manager. 

Do not keep mum if the matter is of your mental peace.

Citations:
1. Our World in Data

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