It’s been over one year since the start of the pandemic, and many are feeling more vulnerable, stressed, and burnt out. Whether you’re just starting to support yourself and your team members with their mental health or want to be more intentional, now is an excellent time to reassess your approach. We’d like to share a few ways to be more inclusive and equitable in supporting your teams’ mental health needs.
Addressing mental health in your organization can start by determining your own well-being and capacity to support others; this will help you set realistic goals and better communicate with your people.
Try centring your conversations around what people need and how you can support them. Many people “struggle” with mental health because they do not have access to high-quality care. This lack of access results from many ‘isms’ like racism, capitalism, and ableism, as examples. Because of this, it’s important to avoid using phrases like “mental health problem” or “suffers from a mental health condition.” Instead, name the issues that are causing these negative experiences and work to fix them.
Ensure that the type of mental health support you’re offering and how you’re offering it is inclusive. This is important because mental health is perceived and processed differently based on people's experiences and backgrounds. In North America, mental health is criminalized, weaponized, and stigmatized, resulting in some people feeling uncomfortable with traditional forms of care or feeling unsafe discussing mental health in the workplace. Take this into account when developing your workplace mental health support plan.
Lastly, work to implement equity and justice in addition to mental health support. We’ve noticed some organizations offer mental health counselling as remedies to discrimination. While it is crucial to provide support to those experiencing discrimination, it is never up to those who’ve been harmed to create the solution; mental health support is not a substitute for policies, processes, and procedures that address the root problems.
We’ve partnered with Inkblot, an accessibly priced online mental health platform, to help our team members access professional care and support. We encourage you to introduce discussions around mental health, provide equitable and intersectional support to your team members, and implement policies that allow people to receive the help they need. As a leader, it’s important to support others but don’t forget to provide the same kindness and support to yourself.