In addition to our weekly Executive Alliance Thought Leadership column here on LinkedIn, we also host a weekly broadcast radio program focused on finding success in the workplace called Radio Jobline. Similar to this column, we will soon begin building a library of radio programs devoted to success in the workplace on our website where our Thought Leadership posts are stored, www.execsallied.com/blog.
We bring this up because recently, one of our radio guests, Aoifa O’Donnell, President of National EAP, an employee assistance organization that helps workers deal with mental health issues, appeared on the radio show with a simple and terrific message. Aoifa’s message is the theme of today’s article.
We are living at a very unusual time in history. The percentage of Americans who have or are now being treated for depression has increased to 17.8%, up about seven points in just the last 8 years. This rate is the highest recorded by Gallup since it began measuring depression using the current form of data collection in 2015.
And it’s no wonder. The war in Israel, a shaky economy, the venomous politics of today, climate change, Putin’s war, Covid, mass murder at US schools, and so many other phenomena unique to this unforgettable time period are taking a toll on American workers.
There are a number of things that employers can do to improve mental health in the workplace, and we will get to them next but first, there is something YOU can do. Find Your Joy. This was the message Ms. O’Donnell kept sending on our radio program and I finally took her advice.
I have always loved playing the guitar and while I can’t make a living at it, it gives me joy just to look at my guitars and amplifiers. I have started to give lessons which has connected me with others who share my guitar passion. When I am playing the guitar or spending time with guitarists, the news does not matter nearly as much no matter what is happening around me. The more I play, the more the news fades into the background. So, take Aoifa O’Donnell’s advice. Find your joy and go to it when the news that surrounds you is overwhelming. I know it is a simple message but believe me, it works.
What Can Employers Do?
- Employers can help. They can create a culture of openness and support. Employees should feel comfortable talking about their mental health with their managers and colleagues. Employers can and should remove the stigma of openly discussing mental health issues.
- Offer employees access to employee assistance programs (EAPs) like National EAP, which are confidential.
- Create a positive work environment by promoting teamwork, respect, and collaboration.
- Recognize and reward employees through formal programs, such as employee of the month.
If you’re struggling with your mental health at work, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to your manager, a trusted colleague, or a mental health professional. There are also a number of online resources available, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the MentalHealth.gov website.
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