October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a chance for us all to reflect on the importance of mental wellbeing and access to support as fundamental human rights. This year's theme is “Mental health is a universal human right” as designated by the World Federation for Mental Health.
At WORKPLACE, our commitment to mental health aligns with our IDEAS philosophy of Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, Accessibility and Sustainability. As a Disability Confident Employer, we strive to create an environment where all employees can thrive with comprehensive mental health support.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, we wanted to highlight some of the ways we promote mental health as a universal right and re-affirm our ongoing commitment to this crucial issue.
Reducing Stigma Through Openness and Empathy
The first step is breaking down the stigma still surrounding mental health issues in many workplaces and communities. We try to foster an open, judgment-free environment where employees feel comfortable talking about mental health concerns like stress, anxiety, depression and more.
Leadership sets the tone by sharing their own experiences dealing with mental health challenges and modeling healthy ways of coping with workplace stressors. We make it clear through our policies, culture and communications that mental health conditions should be no more stigmatised than physical health conditions. Employees are encouraged to prioritise self-care and seek any support needed without judgement.
We also conduct regular mental health awareness training to build understanding and empathy. This includes education on respectful language, recognising signs of distress in coworkers, and providing compassionate support by listening non-judgmentally and encouraging them to access our employee assistance program or other resources.
Fostering an Inclusive Culture of Care
In addition to robust resources, we work to foster a workplace culture that is supportive and understanding of mental health needs. Our Neurodiversity at WORKPLACE program, in partnership with Neurodiversity in Business, provides training, mentoring, and support networks for neurodivergent employees.
We also embed mental health into our regular workflows by encouraging teams to incorporate emotional check-ins during meetings and outlook calendar reminders about taking breaks. Coworkers are empowered to check in on each other's wellbeing and managers are trained to have supportive conversations if they notice a team member struggling.
Early Intervention and Prevention
We equip employees to recognise potential signs of mental distress both in themselves and coworkers. We promote an open culture where people look out for each other and seek help early before mental health challenges escalate or reach crisis levels. Leadership emphasises that mental health days are as valid as sick days for physical illness.
We also work to address mental health problems at the source through our focus on work-life balance, reasonable workload expectations, stress management workshops, resilience and mindfulness training. Our goal is to prevent mental health issues before they develop whenever possible.
Ongoing Commitment to Improvement
While we have made significant progress, we recognise there is always more we can do to provide equitable access to mental healthcare and reduce inequality in mental health outcomes. On this World Mental Health Day and every day, let's renew our commitment to supporting one another and fostering a culture of understanding and care.
We invite employees to share feedback and ideas on how we can continue improving our mental health resources and culture. Together we can build a workplace where everyone is empowered to prioritize their mental wellbeing.