Organizations that value and care for the mental health of their people are mentally wealthy. But how do companies achieve a mentally wealthy work environment? Here’s how.
The 7 Pillars of a Mentally Wealthy Workplace
Pillar 1: ‘We,’ Not ‘You’
This means that the focus is not on ‘those’ persons with mental health issues, but on the wellbeing of all employees, including managers. Why? Because mental health disorders can affect anyone. And when it affects one person on your team, it has an impact on everyone.
At the organizational level, policies and procedures need to be created that work for any of us if ‘we’ become unwell or need help. Using ‘us’ and ‘them’ terms can be a sign of stigma in the organization.
Pillar 2: Organizational Plasticity
Organizational plasticity means that authentic flexibility replaces rigidity and fear. The modern workplace should recognize the benefits of a diverse team, where each individual brings their unique skills and talents. The employee mustn’t be expected to fulfill the role of a machine anymore. Today, individuals are expected to think, show initiative, problem-solve, and so on.
Managers can apply this by recognizing their own unconscious ways that they see mental health. This allows them to see their own bias and then pay attention not to push it onto their employees.
Pillar 3: Nothing About Me Without Me
Mentally wealthy workplaces must apply dignified inclusion instead of secrecy. Many persons who have recovered from severe mental disorders had said that one of the things that made their recovery more difficult was when people were trying to help them make important decisions about their life without asking. This is about respecting the dignity of a person. Managers can apply this by deciding to include the person in any discussions about their well being or their professional career.
Pillar 4: Total Integration
Mentally wealthy organizations see taking care of employees and wellbeing as an integral part of the work culture, not just an extension. An organization can’t simply create some mental policies or procedures, but it needs to integrate them into everyday work processes.
Pillar 5: Mutual Responsibility
This is about moving from a culture of blame to one of mutual concern to achieve a positive outcome. Everyone in the organization shares responsibility for mental health – both their own and their colleagues’. At the individual level, it’s about supporting the person to do what they must to feel well. The organization should take responsibility for their moral and legal requirements.
Pillar 6: Understanding Complexity
This means that we need to move from simplistic understandings of mental health and really understand the complexity of the topic. At the individual level, we can apply this pillar by recognizing the unique circumstances and situation of each person, and not trying to ‘solve’ the mental health problem for them. For the organization, it is about looking for expert opinion in the planning of workplace mental health activities to get the best results.
Pillar 7: Wrap-around Strategies
This means a commitment to integrating mental health initiatives over quick solutions. Managers have to make sure they have to know how to take care of all team members’ wellbeing, how to identify stress early if anyone is struggling, and how they would respond when it comes to a crisis.
Organizations need prevention strategies such as supportive policies, resilience programs, and management training that will save their organization, money, time, and suffering.
Discover the best way to help build a mentally wealthy organization, consistently connect with your leadership team, and predictably turn them into highly engaged employees. Call me for some complimentary advice. Book an appointment at https://go.oncehub.com/GregNichvalodoff or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.