o3 BLOG | Educational
Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental Health in the Workplace — Ahead of Canadian Mental Health Week, which takes place May 2 to 8, 2022, there is an overarching theme surrounding empathy, support, and encouragement to help reduce stigma for those struggling with mental illness. Raising awareness is especially important in the workplace as many employees are returning to on-site work following work-from-home models due to the pandemic. As organizations actively look for ways to stay mentally healthy at work, the importance of emotions and understanding them plays a role in maintaining mental health. The pandemic has had a significant impact on social structure, as many organizations had to pivot to remote work models to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Recognizing the importance of mental health at work, many companies are adopting dedicated wellness programs that address common stressors such as financial planning, managing workplace conflict, and work-life balance. These programs also normalize the treatment of mental health illnesses like any other physical illness to help change attitudes and beliefs towards those struggling with their mental health (including themselves).
The 2021 theme of Mental Health Week celebrated the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 70th anniversary. With the pandemic entering its second year, the theme was understanding and working with our emotions to protect our mental health during uncertain times. As we face the third year of the pandemic, with threats of variants still looming, similar topics will allow Canadians to learn more about navigating mental health, coping strategies, and healthy practices this year.
How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace
When it comes to managing mental health in the workplace, it’s essential to view mental health support systems and strategies as long-term investments. An open and inclusive workplace where employees feel safe and supported to seek help early can significantly impact their feelings, self-worth, and validation.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five adults experiences a mental health diagnosis. Employees who receive treatment for mental health issues report improved work efficacy and satisfaction. Allowing employees to recognize that they are struggling with their mental health and not alone can significantly impact an employee’s well-being and productivity.
Evaluate the company’s health benefit program
Does your company’s health insurance offer mental health coverage? While many group health insurance plans allocate an amount for psychotherapy, employers are starting to provide additional employee assistance programs and personal mental health days outside of regular sick days. In some cases, companies will work with an employee and a mental health care provider to establish accommodations to ensure an employee can fulfill their work duties.
Promote activities to prevent exhaustion
Over the past decade, there has been a growing shift in emphasizing the importance of a healthy work culture and recognizing human capital as a company asset. Events such as social days and outings, and team-building retreats promote camaraderie. Building a peer support system within a workplace lets employees feel like their job is more than a job, allowing them to relate to their teammates personally. Creating work silos often leads to overworking and can make employees feel isolated within their team. Stress levels can increase when employees feel like there is a lack of support from their colleagues, so it’s important to identify opportunities to build a positive team dynamic to avoid losses in productivity.
Create a Culture of Openness
Openness is vital — many mental health triggers and stressors occur outside of the workplace. A staggering number of people who entered the workforce before the mid-2000s have been conditioned to “tough things out” or “leave issues at home.” While it is easier said than done, these stressors often manifest in other ways, eventually affecting employees and their work. If not deduced by HR teams and team managers, burnout can lead to more severe mental health challenges, including depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mood disorders. Creating a culture where employees have peer support tools can go a long way in charting a meaningful path to a supportive workplace environment.
Encourage time off for workaholics
The pressure of project deadlines and the opportunity to advance often keep people at work without the chance to recharge. Contrary to popular belief, the weekends aren’t always enough. If you notice that employees rarely take days off, consider adding a mental health day or reminding them that work-life balance is critical to overall health and well-being. Encouraging time to recharge reinforces a culture of empathy and openness, reflecting a company’s commitment to health and wellness, part of the critical social pillar of ESG.
We can all work to improve our mental health, resilience, and ability to deal with adversity. Because self-care is a skill that might not be innate, creating environments where employees feel safe, seen, and heard should be a top priority. Talking about mental health can be difficult, but we’ve all had conversations with peers about significant life events and triggers that can negatively affect our mental health. These conversations might not always start easily, but they often mean a lot to someone going through a difficult time. The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, and processes can be incredibly stressful for people regardless of their mental health history. While company cultures and policies can differ between organizations, O3 Mining has taken action to create a supportive and safe environment that nurtures positive mental health. We have a comprehensive benefit plan that offers coverage for treatment pertaining to mental and physical health outside of provincial health coverage. Health and safety is a priority to us and we continue to work together to help keep our team safe and healthy.
To learn how O3 Mining can add long-term value to your portfolio, contact us today.
An investor relations executive will be in touch with you shortly.