Mental Health Challenges: How to Combat with Company Culture

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Just a couple weeks after Mental Illness Awareness week, it is still important to acknowledge and continue the conversations about mental health as it is a vast topic affecting one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It was incredible to see the Houston hospitality industry band together by engaging and raising money for local health organizations combating mental health issues like stress, depression, and anxiety.

In my experience, the environment that I am placed impacts how I perform my tasks at work, but also my personal life. To my introverted surprise, I did not realize that I craved social interactions, environments that valued learning and development, and diversity. Missing key motivators over time had taken a toll on my energy and self-perception.  This was hard to digest as I did enjoy the people and work, but at the end of the day, I was not flourishing.

Having to handle the hustle and bustle of deadlines, safety, and financial targets, it is easy to overlook the needs of a changing workforce. However, with 60.4% of the United States populations spending most of their time at work, there should be a continuous strive to prioritize employee well-being. Not only is this important for the health of your employee but also for the retention and efficacy of the workforce. According to Gallup’s State of American Workplace Report, 53% of employees consider having a better personal well-being as “very important” to them leading to significant improvements in absenteeism, quality incidents, productivity, employee safety incidents, and etc.

In order for the prioritization of mental health to feel less forced and deter from negative stigmas that can surround it, employee well-being can be integrated into company culture. Simple things like celebrating employee birthdays, bringing food, or having proper office lighting – especially during these coming fall months when the sun sets earlier – can have a significant impact.

On a larger scale,  wellness competitions, social hours, space to provide feedback, and recognition can be outlets for employees to recharge and remember to check in with their own health. According to a 2017 survey, over 75% of employees stated a company wellness program had positive impacts to their health.

Lastly, for companies with more resources consider mental health related services such as health insurance and an Employee Assistance Program. Other benefits such as PTO, maternity/paternity leave, ability to work remotely, and educational reimbursements are investments that can diminish stress factors for employees. When it comes down to it, the environment created in a company impacts the employee’s overall life, not just in the workplace.

As everyone is affected differently, I do not believe there is one perfect company culture recipe to combat mental health. However, it is necessary to be intentional and forthcoming about the company culture that is created. This will give future employees insights to environment they will be surrounded by, attracting and retaining the people who thrive and want to be part of that.

Finally, to update you on my personal experience, I have been fortunate to join Kahuna Workforce Solutions, who strives to “operate as an organization that nurtures like a family, inspires intellectual curiosity, and relentlessly promotes innovation.”

Further Reading:
HBR: Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive
Bustle: 9 Workplace Mental Health Statistics That Show Why This Year’s World Mental Health Day Theme is So Important
Deloitte: At a tipping Point? | Workplace mental health and wellbeing
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health – Relevant Statistics
Fortune: Work Mental Health Day: Illness in the Workplace Is More Common Than you Might Think

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