One in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, and more than half of those individuals will go untreated. This can decrease your team members’ overall quality of life—as well as the quality of their work. 

Creating a mental health toolkit can help you better support your team members, encourage them to get help when they need it, and allow them to be their best selves. Here are some things to include in a comprehensive toolkit.

Employee health and wellness benefits

One of the most notable work trends during the pandemic was an expansion in mental health benefits. In fact, 90% of employers planned to invest more in mental health benefits in 2022. 

Adding mental health coverage to your existing healthcare insurance plan and offering an employee assistance program (EAP) are great places to start. These benefits enable your team members to get professional support to improve their mental health.

But these aren’t the only benefits you might want to consider. Physical, emotional, social, and financial wellness can also all support better mental health. Take a holistic approach to employee health and wellness by offering benefits such as:

  • Time off and flex hours. Taking time away from work can help your team members recharge and focus on overcoming the sources of their mental health challenges. Many employers are now offering ‘refresh days,’ giving all team members an extra day or week off work. This allows everyone to recharge at once without worrying about missing out on projects or important communications while they’re away.
  • Wellness stipend. Offer a stipend to cover wellness and self-care services such as a gym membership, massage, or meditation retreat. 
  • Child and senior care benefits. Caregiving is an enormous responsibility and helping your team members care for their loved ones can help reduce their load.
  • Legal and financial programs. Finances are a common source of stress and legal issues can certainly affect mental health as well. Offering legal and financial programs such as education, consultations, or technologies can help your team members get through difficult times.

Peer support programs

Peer support programs can help your team members feel less isolated and help them get the care they need to overcome their mental health challenges.

Consider training your managers or a group of volunteers to identify and support team members dealing with mental health challenges. For example, Kallidus has a peer support group called the Mental Health First Aiders. They’re qualified to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues, support team members in distress, and guide them to further support.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be another excellent source of peer support around common challenges in a given community. For example, a parenting ERG can provide a safe space for a new parent to discuss postpartum depression so they know they’re not alone, can feel supported, and can ask for additional resources that might help. You might also consider a mental health ERG where your team members can support each other through challenges and discuss possible solutions and helpful treatment options.

Learning opportunities around mental health 

Mental Health Awareness month (May) is a great time to ramp up learning opportunities around this important subject to help break the stigma and provide support where it’s needed. There are a few ways you can add mental health learning opportunities to your toolkit.

Online learning like Kallidus’ Positive Mental Health course can enable your team members to learn at their own pace. It also provides a private way to learn more about mental health if they’d prefer to keep their challenges to themselves.

You might also sync with your health insurer, EAP, or a mental health organization to host events around mental health topics like stress management. Schedule these throughout the year, and especially during other mental health observances. These include:

  • Mental Wellness Month in January
  • Minority Mental Health Month in July
  • World Mental Health Day on October 10

Finally, consider hosting an event where you review your mental health toolkit with team members. It’s important that they know what’s available to them and what they can suggest to a colleague in need.

Final thoughts

Investing in your mental health toolkit is a great way to improve the quality of your team members’ lives. This has been shown to make an impact at work as well. Four in five (80%) of team members treated for mental illness report improved levels of work efficacy and satisfaction. Effective treatment can also reduce medical costs, increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and decrease disability costs.

Mental Health Awareness month is a great time to review your mental health toolkit with your team members and consider adding new programs to better support your team.

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Creating a Mental Health Toolkit to Support Your Team