Mental Health is an issue that affects all Americans. Whether you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide or you’ve been impacted by incidents in your community, everyone hurts when they find out that another person has taken their own life.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Suicide Prevention Day is the 10th, dedicated to developing society’s understanding and awareness of mental illness and suicide.
Mental illness isn’t contained to one or two areas of a person’s life— it is affected by all parts of a person’s life. That includes the workplace.
The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in The Workplace
Work is a crucial tenet of most people’s identity and sense of self-worth. It’s also the place where a lot of individuals spend the most time and interact with the most people. These facts make the workplace an area that is strongly attached to a person’s mental health.
Whether or not the workplace welcomes, respects, and listens to an individual will have a direct effect on that person’s long-term mental well-being. When someone is at risk of suicide, a conscientious and compassionate workplace can help save a life.
Pledgeling is dedicated to helping businesses build purpose and engage employees. We have put together a few ways your business can create a workplace that fosters good mental health while giving back to the organizations that support those in need.
1. Establish Open Communication
Employees benefit a great deal when their workplace offers resources for them to speak about and get help for their mental health issues. Even if the individual doesn’t have a diagnosed mental illness, they should be offered pathways to counseling and communication with someone who can help.
There is a stigma surrounding mental illness, and it may be difficult for people to open up. Working on connectedness can help people feel more comfortable talking.
2. Work on Connection
The Center for Disease Control has adopted the promotion of connectedness as one of its directions for preventing suicide. This follows from the fact that social connection is extremely correlated with the risk of suicide.
A feeling of connection doesn’t only come from someone’s personal life. Any social group that a person belongs to can be a source of connection. Seeing as the workplace is where individuals spend the majority of their time, it makes sense to establish connectedness between members of staff.
Connectedness grows organically and can’t necessarily happen right away, but organizing fun activities and volunteer events where staff can build bonds can go a long way. Things like meditation, yoga, and stress management courses can also help workplaces improve as a whole.
3. Educate Management and Staff
Many people don’t have the tools or the language to address their mental health issues.
There are educational materials for you and management staff to gain awareness about ways to increase positive behaviors as well as tips on talking to your staff about the red flags of mental illness.
Suicide awareness programs can help you and your staff to notice when someone may be at risk of suicide. Make sure to find programs with proven efficacy from reputable organizations.
4. Support Mental Health Organizations
One way to establish your workplace’s value on mental health is by contributing to organizations that are working toward spreading awareness of mental illness and actively combatting suicide. Organizing volunteer events is also a good way to give back AND build connections amongst your staff.
This, of course, helps the organization you contribute to but also lets your staff know that your business isn’t one that will discriminate against them for speaking out about their mental difficulties. In fact, showing your support for the cause may be the thing that motivates them to step out and talk to someone about getting help.
5. Make Suicide Prevention Resources Available
It’s always a good idea to present pamphlets, cards, and phone numbers that provide suicide prevention information. At the very least, someone in need might pick up the number for the Crisis Text Line and put it in their wallet.
These resources are effective because they don’t require suffering individuals to speak to anyone in the office if they don’t want to. Offering information about how to get help or speak with someone if you are considering suicide may be the most effective thing you can do for those employees.
Pledgeling Can Help You Support Mental Health Awareness!
Showing your support for mental health awareness is important and will send a big message to your employees and customers, too.
We can all improve the lives of those who suffer from mental illness by getting informed and donating /volunteering with organizations that are working to prevent suicide, like Pledgeling partners The Trevor Project, Crisis Text Line and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Pledgeling is here to guide companies through the process of partnering up with an organization that's devoted to mental health awareness. We handle all of the tricky stuff so companies can concentrate on making the biggest impact possible.