3 Pillars of a Progressive Mental Health Policy for Organisations

3 Pillars of a Progressive Mental Health Policy for Organisations

How can organisations show they are genuinely committed to fostering a culture of positive mental wellbeing, not simply checking off a box? As more organisations strive to create a supportive and productive environment for employees, implementing a progressive mental health policy has emerged as a vital strategy. 

What exactly is a progressive mental health policy?

First and foremost, a progressive mental health policy starts with an understanding of the impact mental health has on each workplace differently. For example, a policy designed for a retail worker may not meet the needs of a tech company that has neurodiverse employees with special requirements. Additionally, a workplace driven by sales may have a policy focused predominantly on managing stress in fast-paced environments because they want to protect employees from burnout and reduce high turnover rates. 

A ‘progressive’ workplace mental health policy means there is room to evolve and develop as the support and mental health needs of employees change over time. 

Organisations that are committed to getting to know what employees want and need and respond by creating policies that truly reflect the people that work for them are better placed to respond when an employee reaches out for help.

In times when mental health is involved, how someone responds to a request for support can really make all the difference. 

Onebright mental health specialists have worked with large-scale organisations for many years, supporting employers to develop clinically-led, data-driven policies for their workforces. Below they outline three pillars that serve as a foundation for a comprehensive and progressive mental health policy.

Pillar 1: Accessibility

Ensuring accessibility is the first step towards creating an effective mental health policy for employees. Accessibility means breaking down barriers and making mental health resources and support readily available to all employees. Do your line managers and team leaders know where to point workers if they are struggling with their mental health?  

Here are some key considerations:

  • Education and Awareness

Offer comprehensive mental health education programs to increase awareness and understanding among employees. Easily accessible resources such as online or in-person workshops, seminars, and online courses promote mental health literacy and empower employees to take their learning into their own hands, inside and outside of office hours.

  • Build Open Communication Channels

Establish a confidential and non-judgmental environment that encourages employees to speak openly about mental health concerns. This may look like assigning a Mental Health Officer or implementing feedback mechanisms and anonymous reporting systems to facilitate communication and identify areas for improvement.

  • Resource Allocation of resources

Allocate sufficient resources to support mental health initiatives. This could include budgeting for employee assistance programs (EAPs), therapy services, and mental health training for managers and supervisors.

Policy Pillar 2: Inclusivity

Creating an inclusive mental health policy means ensuring that all employees, regardless of their background or individual needs, feel supported and included. 

Here are some strategies to foster inclusivity in a workplace mental health policy:

  • Cultural Sensitivity

Recognise and address cultural differences when developing mental health policies. Consider incorporating culturally relevant resources and support systems to cater to diverse needs. Engage in conversations with employees from different backgrounds to gain insights and feedback on their specific requirements.

  • Accommodations and Flexibility

Evaluate how flexible work arrangements can support individuals with mental health challenges or staff with extenuating circumstances. Encourage open discussions about reasonable accommodations and establish clear protocols for requesting them.

  • Ongoing psychological support 

Regularly revisit and signpost employee resources focused on mental health. Onebright offers an industry-first gamified mental health app where individuals are able to access on-demand, practical modules covering a range of common workplace challenges.  

Pillar 3: Employer Support

The third pillar of a progressive mental health policy involves providing employer support that addresses the overall confidentiality and privacy concerns of employees. 

Consider the following approaches:

  • Prevention and Early Intervention

Promote preventative measures, such as stress management workshops, mindfulness programs, and resilience training. Encourage early intervention by signposting where individuals can go for private mental health screenings and assessments.

  • Confidentiality 

A mental health policy can act as a reminder to staff that information about stress and mental health is highly sensitive and such information should be kept confidential. Each policy should give staff reassurance that they are protected from any form of discrimination or victimisation based upon a disclosure concerning their mental wellbeing.

  • Reducing the stigma of mental health in the workplace

An inclusive and healthy company culture starts from the top. When leaders and executives have open and honest conversations about their own mental health challenges, it normalises talks around mental health and invites others to share their own experiences in an environment without fear of stigma. 

Consult Onebright mental health experts when putting your mental health policy together

A progressive mental health policy for the workplace is built upon the three pillars of accessibility, inclusivity, and employer support. By prioritising these pillars, organisations can create an environment that fosters mental wellbeing, enhances productivity, and promotes overall employee satisfaction so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

Remember, a strong mental health policy is not only an ethical responsibility but also a smart business strategy in today’s competitive landscape.

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