May is Mental Health Awareness Month and typically a time when we share some information about mental health for employees, managers, and organizations. This year, we’re drawing our insights from Jaime Corwin, VP of Human Resources at Riverbend Community Mental Health. She presented at this year’s DATIS Evolve3 Summit on the important topic of mental health in the workplace, providing helpful information on what leaders within the organization need to know and how they can help. Here, we explore some of the key points she made during her session, which is also available on demand here.
The first step is to understand the prevalence of mental health conditions. Many people are aware that physical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and so on are quite common among individuals. However, the same goes for things like anxiety disorders, depression, substance use disorders, and trauma. In fact, one in five adults live with a mental illness. Consider what that number means as you look at your workforce population. It’s important to remember that mental health conditions, just like physical illnesses, do not discriminate.
Fighting the Stigma
There is still plenty of stigma around mental health issues. Many individuals with a mental illness feel ashamed of their condition, as a result of the blame and misunderstanding around their condition. This often leads them to avoid seeking help or looking for alternative “self-treatment” methods that may not be appropriate. This can also cause mild conditions to become more severe, compounding the issue.
So, what can organizational leaders, executives, and managers do to fight this stigma? There are a few steps you can take right now as a starting point:
- Talking openly about mental health and being cognizant about using person-centered language
- Educating yourself and others about mental health, through resources such as Mental Health First Aid
- Being able to recognize the five key signs of mental illness: personality changes, agitation, being withdrawn, poor self-care, and hopelessness
- Reducing potential burnout, especially among frontline staff, with balanced workloads, regular check-ins, and employee recognition
- Leading by example – take care of your own mental health first!
What’s This Have to Do with Us?
DATIS is a strong advocate of increasing awareness of and access to treatment for mental health, both within our own company and for others as well. As an HR and Payroll software provider that exclusively serves human services organizations, we stand behind the missions of these essential organizations and the work they do for our communities. Our solution enables these organizations to better achieve their mission by providing the tools and insights they need for their workforce management strategy. Learn more about the organizations we serve here.