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The importance of addressing the stigma around mental health in the workplace

Mental health stigma refers to an attitude that is negative towards those who struggle with their health issues, for example, those who suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

The workplace stigma could:

  • This can lead to discriminatory behavior that can result in discrimination,

  • change people's attitudes and attitudes about those who are struggling with their mental health (including them)

  • Stop those who are struggling with mental health issues from being able to talk about their issues and seek out support from their employers and those in their lives.

A welcoming and inclusive workplace that makes employees feel secure and encouraged to seek help earlier is better for everyone.

A mentally safe and healthy workplace helps employees' mental health and does not compromise employees' mental health through negligent actions, or in a reckless manner. For example, a mentally secure workplace is free of fear and chronic anxiety. A company's commitment to safety should start from the highest level.

One method to create psychological safety in your workplace is to establish and implement a Comprehensive workplace health and safety program. This program is a collection of related strategies designed, implemented, and governed by employers, in collaboration with employees, to continuously improve or maintain the standard of life health, safety, and well-being of the employees. These initiatives are designed as part of an ongoing improvement plan to enhance the working environment (physical and psychosocial), as well as economic, and organizational) and enhance the personal empowerment of employees and their personal growth.


Importance of addressing the stigma around mental health in the workplace
Source: Unsplash


Here are a few ways to reduce the stigma around mental health at work


Employers, leaders of people, and managers play a crucial part in breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and creating a positive working environment. Employers are more often providing support for mental health to employees however, they are more likely to be ineffective if no one will come forward. Here are some strategies to lessen the stigma around mental health:

1. Begin the conversation and keep it going.

Many employees are eager to engage in an honest discussion about their mental health. They can be difficult conversations to have even in the most ideal situations, but it can be impossible if an organization does not actively promote the de-stigmatization of mental health, and provides the resources needed to improve workers in their mental well-being and health.

Make sure your employees understand that their well-being and health are essential to you via your words and actions. Some suggestions on how you can reduce mental health stigmas at work include:

  • Be sure to check in with your team regularly and regularly share valuable resources for mental health

  • The topic of mental health is discussed during all calls to the company

  • Making internal videos of executives speaking about mental wellness suggests vulnerability is a virtue and counters the notions that individuals may have about mental health issues in terms of "unknown" or "scary"

  • Promoting healthy behavior with PTO, or by telling employees you had time to walk in the middle of the day or therapy session or any other form of self-care.

  • Affording PTO to work on improving mental health, not only physical,

  • Conducting quarterly employee surveys to assess the impact of stigmatization for mental illness, and then implementing appropriate actions in response to the results of the survey

2. Offer mental health literacy education Training for the entire company can help employees detect and respond appropriately to the signs of psychological distress within themselves and in those surrounding them, create strategies to lessen the stigma around mental health, and also get connected to resources that help their well-being and mental health. Training should emphasize that mental health problems are not uncommon and treatment options for mental health problems are available. Sharing this kind of information could help to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Consider implementing specialized training for managers that helps them recognize employees who might be suffering from emotional distress and react appropriately by engaging in empathetic conversations regarding mental health and the intention of connecting employees with sources. Most employees think that they receive training from their managers in recognizing mental health problems.

3. Eliminate mental health discrimination

You must take steps to ensure that your workplace is a welcoming, and supportive place where everyone is comfortable asking for assistance. For instance:

  • Create and implement anti-discrimination policies.

  • Make sure the policies and procedures are used by all employees in a fair manner.

  • Inform managers about the typical barriers to treatment due to cultural background or social status like accessibility, affordability, and stigma, to enable them to react to the distress of employees with a strategy that supports access to care and increases the psychological security of their employees.

  • Beware of stereotyping, labeling, and creating divisions or making a distinction against someone due to the label or diagnosis they might suffer from. Even good intentions, such as believing that a task in the workplace can be "too much" for someone who is struggling with mental health, without consulting with them, could be categorized as such.

  • Refute myths and stereotypes when you are exposed to them.

4. Create awareness and mental health campaigns

While employers cannot directly address problems like anxiety or depression, however, they have the ability to eliminate the barriers that prevent treatment. Here are a few strategies to raise awareness

  • Develop ongoing mental health programs, workshops, or workshops to educate employees on mental health issues and inspire them to seek assistance. Anti-stigma programs at work can increase knowledge, improve behavior, and help reduce the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. The research also indicates that the programs can provide an increase in ROI for employers. A survey revealed that 80 percent of employees thought they would be benefited from an anti-stigma mental health program However, less than 23% of employers said they were having this kind of program.

  • Form a group consisting of "mental health ambassadors" who create awareness about mental health issues and provide non-judgmental resources of assistance. The ability to learn from those who suffer from mental health problems is among the most effective method to decrease stigma around mental health at work.

  • Create employee resource groups that create a space for employees looking to connect on mental health issues and advocacy initiatives.

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