5 Ways to Create a Mentally Healthy Workplace

Twitter was busy last month when a post about using sick leave for a “mental health day” went viral. This followed an exchange between a valued employee and her CEO after she asked for 2 days off for her mental health. The CEO gave a positive response, thanking the employee for helping to “cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” By making it OK to take time off for mental health, he normalized the idea that mental health needs care like physical health.

And why did this topic go viral? Because it brought mental health in the workplace to the forefront and challenges us to think about how we might have responded ourselves.

Here are 5 things you can do to support a mentally healthy workplace:

1. Help erase the stigma of mental illness:
Speak openly about mental wellbeing and support others who do the same. Acknowledge that emotional wellbeing is as important to success in one’s job as physical health.

2. Prevent Burnout:
Manage and monitor workloads and respect downtime – yours and that of your team. In today’s world, true work-life balance is almost a thing of the past; yet it is an essential component of mental wellbeing. Help employees set reasonable work boundaries and consider flexible work arrangements. Encourage employees to take a break when they need one and model that behavior yourself.

3. Manage Mindfully:
Mindful leadership comes from a place of calm and focus. It allows you to respond to any situation as it arises. Mindfulness practices like breathing and meditation will help you and your workgroup stay focused while managing stress and anxiety.