The way employees feel and act impacts everything from their efficiency and communication to their ability for creativity and innovation. However, business owners are often ill-equipped to manage and support the wellbeing of their staff. A recent survey found that only 17% of managers feel very confident in their ability to support colleagues experiencing mental health issues.
In recent years, there has been increasing investment by employers into the mental wellbeing of their staff by offering them an employee assistance program (EAP). An EAP typically offers face-to-face counselling for employees struggling with a personal or work-related issue. However, 67% of managers reported that there is stigma in the workplace surrounding stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. This workplace stigma is a major hurdle to employees seeking out this kind of face-to-face counselling or treatment.
HOW CAN AN EAP REDUCE STIGMA?
Newer EAPs like Uprise Health support employees across the wellbeing spectrum by offering preventative wellbeing training that improves their resilience to workplace or life stressors. By engaging employees before they are stressed, wellbeing becomes a more common topic within the workplace and better understood by the majority. This not only support those who are struggling, but also widens the safety net by encouraging colleagues to recognize warning signs and offer their support to others:-
- START A CONVERSATION
Workplace health is a leadership issue, and change must start at the top. Employers that invest in and promote any kind of Employee Assistance Program are communicating to their employees that they value the wellbeing of their staff. When organizational leaders drive policies and practices that promote mental health, it begins to reduce the stigma surrounding these conversations in the workplace. This is particularly important where for some employees, work is the primary cause of stress.
2. CHECKING IN ON WELLBEING
Uprise Health is a unique employee assistance program that encourages all employees to check their wellbeing by completing a Wellbeing Check. Wellbeing Checks are based on the World Health Organization Scale and measure wellbeing as a score out of 100, relative to the population. Employees find out their wellbeing score in relation to others, and as a result will have a better awareness, understanding and appreciation for how others may be feeling. As a result, there will be less of a stigma around thinking and talking about wellbeing with others who have also taken part in the programs Wellbeing Checks.
3. NORMALISING SPEAKING TO SOMEONE WHEN YOU FEEL STRESSED
As employees start to understand that an EAP is a confidential resource that is there to support them, it will be utilized more effectively by employees before they reach a serious crisis point. Uprise offers coaching calls with a registered psychologist not only for employees with a mental health condition, but also for those experiencing a low point. This encourages employees to deal with the buildup of stress in a healthy way that involves reaching out for support early and recognizing that speaking to a professional is normal. By offering a phone or chat coaching option instead of just face-to-face counselling, Uprise support is more accessible and flexible for employees.
4. LEARNING SKILLS TO REDUCE STRESS
An employee assistance program that teaches skills to reduce stress is vital for reducing stigma in the workplace. Learning the skills to protect from mental stress and injury helps to communicate to employees that it is natural for mental health to vary over time. The Uprise EAP teaches employees skills to deal with stress effectively as well as support others who may be experiencing a low-point. As a result of learning these skills, employees perceive a greater level of support from both management and the company. When employees invest their time in their own wellbeing, the stigma around poor mental health lessens and a more understanding and accepting workplace culture begins to develop.