Did you know?
SA ranks one of the worst countries in terms of mental health. ¼ of SA employees will be diagnosed with depression during their employment, but only 15%-20% of these individuals will seek or receive help. Mental disorders result in lost of productivity and is estimated to cost the SA economy approximately R19-billion annually.
Source – Annual Mental State of the World Report
There are many reasons for these statistics, such as job security, increasing job demands, organisational culture, poor leadership, an increase in automation and rapid technological advances. However, the decline is also due to the stigma associated with mental health. According to SADAG, only 1 in 6 employees are likely to disclose their mental health struggles to their employer.
It is critical that employers start to give as much priority to mental health as they do physical health.
Here are a few strategies to get your organisation started:
- Offer training programs and workshops to drive awareness, and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
- Promote open communication by providing multiple channels for communication, such as anonymous surveys, or regular one-on-one check-ins.
- Train leaders and managers to recognise the signs of mental distress and how to respond appropriately.
- Accommodate flexible working arrangements when needed.
- Encourage the use of annual leave and discourage excessive overtime work.
- Provide access to Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) or use of counselling benefits through partner medical aid schemes.
- Foster a culture of community and support to promote social connections.
- Implement metrics to track the impact of mental wellness initiatives and adjust as needed; this ensures that it remains a priority.
Leaders who focus on mental wellbeing not only benefit their people but also contribute to the overall success, sustainability, and ethical standing of their organisations. It’s really a win-win approach that acknowledges the importance of the human element in the workplace and beyond.