Nowadays, mental health is a topic many can talk about openly. However, that isn't to say people don't face any kind of discrimination or challenges at all. In fact, a lot of people fear just this if they speak out about their mental health.
This of course includes the workplace too. While root of mental health issues can come from stresses at work, other factors such as relationship problems, circumstances, etc can also play a part.
Your workplace environment could be practically perfect, but those who are struggling due to personal problems may have issues in their motivation and productivity. As a result, their work can be badly affected.
So, what should we do to ensure mental health awareness in the workplace?
1) Act as a listening ear to those who are struggling
Make sure that your employees know they can come to you if they are facing any kind of mental health struggles - whether it's work-related or due to their personal lives. Sometimes, they may not be comfortable sharing the details of what's bothering them, which is perfectly okay. Don't push them to tell you what's wrong, even if it's afecting their work. Simply let them know that your door is open to them. You could also refer them to workplace counselling if you offer it, or to other external services.
2) Allow time off if necessary
Sometimes, having a day off work doesn't just boil down to physical illness, as mental health problems can be the reason too. If your employee calls in sick due to this, don't get annoyed at them. So long as they don't make too much of a habit of it, grant your employee a day off. This is what's known as a "mental health day". Allowing this will give your employee the day to cope with their issues and clear their head, so they are ready to face work the following day. This will show that you are considerate of their mental health, and they will see that too.
That being said, it's important to not let them make a habit out of this, as mental health days are not something to be taken advantage of. However, an employee does hold the right to be signed off work due to mental health if backed up by their GP.
3) Hold mental health awareness meetings
Arranging these kind of meetings will show your employees that your company is aware and open about mental health, which will encourage them to talk about it if necessary. During these meetings, show them that you care about their mental wellbeing, as well as what you can offer in terms of help. This willl not only improve your workplace environment, but also the rapport between you and your employees.
Mental health is not something that should be pushed under the rug these days, and should be taken just as seriously as physical health. While work is an important factor in life, it should never come in front of your wellbeing.