Expertos en SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite
Expertos en SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite

Meet the New Trend to Support the Mental Health of Employees

Nuvolino Team nBC

Importancia de la salud mental de los colaboradores

As with any new practice, it's something simple, easy, and high impact are implementing signatures of the first world.

From the start of the pandemic, physicians, educators, and lawmakers have been sounding the alarm about a global crisis mental health. The levels informed of depression remain three times higher than it was prior to the COVID-19, according to a survey of EE. UU. conducted by Northeastern University and other partner universities in 2021.

For years, organizations have sought to support the well-being of the employees by offering everything from meditation and yoga to psychiatrists in the office, in an effort to reduce turnover and increase engagement and the productivity of the employees. Today, companies are innovating with a new tactic, rely on the help of their own workforce, to address the mental health problems of the employees and enhance a workplace culture of support.

Alice Scott, Director of Operations and Inclusion of Austin Fraser, says that the international agency staff evaluated several strategies to meet the needs of the employees wondering: "How could we do that in a way that is our own, and that feel genuine in the way that we do?" 

Then, Austin Fraser launched its initiative We Care Champions to share video profiles of "employees who want to listen to anyone who needs it". These volunteers come from across the company and are the first to respond to the colleagues who struggle with depression, anxiety or any other mental health problem. “It's really going to matter,” Alice says. “And they can tell you about the time when you really have needed to rely on others, and they want to be here for you.”

To better support employees, including reducing the stigma around mental health problems, some companies believe that the conversations between peers are invaluable. Read on to find out how companies are implementing these programs and how one might also benefit to your company.

1. Peer support can be an entry point to a more in depth discussion on mental health

The programs peer-to-peer complement the employee assistance programs (EAP) existing and often serve as a useful alternative for those who are not yet ready to go to your department of RR.HH. or other routes in search of help. And advocates say that these initiatives encourage positively to a change in the culture of the company to support the mental health of the employees. The premise is simple: to help people recognize and talk about mental health in the workplace without the stigma.

2. It is possible that employees who volunteer are already very familiar with the challenges faced by their colleagues

When Amanda Graney, an employee of WPP in London, he heard that the multinational agency of communications and advertising to launch an initiative of Partners for Mental Health in 2021, says it was a “very clear” to be voluntary because of their own personal experiences.

One of his own children had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and Amanda describes how disheartening that was trying to navigate the mental health system in the United Kingdom. Almost at the same time that the diagnosis, her husband died of cancer. He says that he felt isolated.

“It can be extremely challenging and very confusing,” says Amanda. “I would have loved to have someone that I support you, someone with whom I could talk about in that space while this was happening”.

After applying to become an Ally of Mental Health, Amanda underwent a detailed interview and then two days of training. Today, she and the other allies of mental health in WPP have a deep message, but simple for your colleagues: you are not alone.

Judy Jackson, global director of culture and engagement of WPP, read hundreds of requests from employees and Amanda who wanted to be an ally. Many, she says, she shared her own experience with mental health, a member of the family, divorce or death in the family. “They want to return the favor,” says Judy.

3. The support of leadership is fundamental to programs, employee to employee and you can become better leaders

Since the initiative was launched Mental Health Allies in the United Kingdom in may of 2021, WPP has trained 200 allies and 36 senior leaders in 40 agencies. A pilot program launched in the U.s. in December 2021 with 130 partners, including more than 30 senior leaders, in seven agencies.

Amanda says that the acceptance of leadership is critical to the success of the program, while the leaders may also benefit greatly from their participation. As a team leader, Amanda says that his management style has evolved due to his experience as an ally of mental health.

“I think that has made me more accessible,” she says. “It certainly made my team feel very committed, very supported. There is a greater level of confidence in the team. All feel that, that can display your entire being”.

Final thoughts: Talk about mental health problems can help to eliminate the stigma associated with them

Programs such as Mental Health Allies of WPP, Mental Health Champions of Unilever and We Care Champions of Austin Fraser can raise both well-being and the culture of an organization. Amanda expected that the program will start to remove the stigma of mental health issues.

"We have no problem," Amanda says, "to call in sick and say: 'I have a cold'. But, why would a physical illness is much more acceptable?"

Amanda says that many times, the conversations he has with his colleagues on mental health happen in an organic way.

“We are not therapists, and we're not there to offer advice,” says Amanda. “What we are here to do is offer support. Just to say: ‘Look, we're here.’ Someone is listening. Someone cares’. And I am really passionate about that. 't matter to Me. You may not be able to resolve your problem. In fact, I'm not here to solve your problem, but I'm here to show you that you are not alone”.